Cardin not running for reelection, opening blue-state Senate seat

Cardin not running for reelection, opening blue-state Senate seat

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin will not seek reelection in 2024, he announced on Monday, creating a wide-open race to succeed him and altering the Senate.

Cardin has served in the Senate for three terms, providing a generally reliable vote for Democrats but also willing to cut bipartisan deals when needed. He explained his philosophy in a statement on Monday: “I am an optimist but also a realist.”

“I was taught that it’s okay to compromise — don’t ever compromise your principles — but find a path to get things done. Inspire trust in those around you. Keep your word and, again, listen,” Cardin said.

The genial Marylander had been been contemplating his plans for months as Democrats eyed his seat. The 79-year-old Cardin is a fixture in Maryland politics, serving first in the statehouse, then the House and then in the Senate since 2007.

He’s the third Senate Democrat to announce they won’t run for reelection, joining Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Of those three states, only Michigan is considered competitive.

Cardin’s announcement will almost certainly jolt the Old Line State’s congressional delegation and political apparatus. Democrats from all corners will consider running for a safe seat that’s also within driving distance of the Capitol — as plum a gig as you’ll find in politics. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Reps. Jamie Raskin and David Trone are among those rumored to be considering runs. Cardin’s opening also could particularly pave the way for a candidate from Baltimore, where the senator is from.

The retirement of former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) sparked a tough battle between former Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen in 2016. Van Hollen ultimately prevailed.

Cardin’s retirement will shake up the Senate, as well. Cardin currently chairs the Small Business Committee and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to temporarily appoint him to the Senate Judiciary Committee to replace Feinstein there as she recovers from shingles.

“Senator Cardin has dedicated more than five decades to helping Marylanders from the state house — as the youngest speaker in our state’s history at the time — to the halls of Congress, now as chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee,” Van Hollen said, citing the senator’s long body of work from approving new Russian sanctions to protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

And some of his highest profile work came during a stint as the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relation Committee.

There he helped negotiate a bill that allowed Congress to review the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Congress did not ultimately block the former president’s deal; Cardin voted against it in the end but also argued against withdrawal.

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Author: By Burgess Everett