Enjoying a week long vacation for the first time in a while, and thinking back on the past year and a half since Barbara Mikulski dropped her bombshell on Maryland in March, 2015, I’ve been contemplating a rumor that has come up more than once – that Ben Cardin may not run for reelection in 2018.
I’m not reporting this rumor as a fact. It’s a rumor, nothing more at this point. I’m not writing a news story, or even a rumor story, but using the rumor as a launching pad for what could – if the rumor turns out to be true, which I’m not (yet) claiming – turn 2018 into a watershed election for Maryland that would make 2016 look like a leisurely walk in the park.
So with apologies to Ben Cardin and as an exercise in rank rumination and speculation, what might be the result of a theoretical Cardin retirement?
Strap yourselves in, keep your hands and feet inside the ride, and let’s get going. This is gonna be FUN.
Disclaimer: As with the Cardin retirement, all the following speculation is just that: speculation. Caveat emptor. Bet on any or all of this at your own risk. All warranties are hereby disclaimed. Not valid where prohibited by law. Etc.
So who runs for the open Senate seat?
Will Elijah Cummings be able to resist the lure of a run again? I’d bet not.
John Sarbanes passed in 2016. This time, it’s his dad’s old Senate seat. He’s in.
Anthony Brown? He knows how to win a statewide Democratic primary if not yet a general election. Would he run so soon after earning his House seat? Why not?
Jamie Raskin. As with Brown, he’s going to be a newbie House member, but look, with Van Hollen in the other seat, another opportunity like this won’t come around again for 20 years or more. So he’s in too.
That’s four congressmen. We don’t have any women incumbents to run, but might Donna Edwards take another shot? Come on down, get in the game.
So that’s five candidates. Will there be more? Probably. Mix in the gubernatorial primary and you could easily see another handful of candidates flirt with either or both races. Tom Perez and John Delaney are names that come to mind here.
Crazy as that scenario is, we’re just getting started. This little reverie would result in five out of eight House incumbents running for some other office in 2018.
So now we’ve got five open House races to pick apart, two of them (CDs 4 and 8) open seats for the second cycle in a row. Plus a wide open gubernatorial primary and the usual state legislative races. So no free passes this time, Annapolis or local county folks – you want to run for Congress, you’ve got to put your seats up for grabs.
Isn’t this fun?
So here’s what we’re gonna do. I have some ideas for who might do what in these theoretical races. But I want to hear what YOU think. Who’d run? Who do you want to run? Who’d win? Who do you want to win? What impact would all this craziness have on Annapolis? Who’d benefit? Who wouldn’t? What would be the impact on Maryland politics as a whole?
Email me at email@example.com. Confidentiality assured for all submissions. I’ll write my thoughts up for the CD3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 races that I’ve just set up, and then I’ll give reader feedback as well.
If nothing else we’ll have something else to talk about besides Donald Trump. That alone makes the exercise worthwhile, amirite?