- The Washington Times
Monday, March 9, 2015

Montgomery County officials staged a show of support for Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s candidacy to replace Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski on Monday amid word that the Democratic primary for the open seat is becoming crowded.

News outlets reported that Rep. Donna Edwards is to announce in coming days her bid for Ms. Mikulski’s seat, and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former NAACP President Ben Jealous are considering running for the position.

Other Democrats — such as Reps. Elijah Cummings, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes — are expected to announce their intentions in coming weeks.

SEE ALSO: Barbara Mikulski, Maryland senator, will not seek re-election

Meanwhile, Maryland’s leading Democrat — former Gov. Martin O’Malley — already has announced that he will not seek the Senate, as he is weighing a run for the White House in 2016.

Mr. Van Hollen, whose 8th Congressional District includes Montgomery County, was to first to launch a bid to replace the retiring Ms. Mikulski, the Senate’s longest-serving woman who announced last Tuesday that she will not seek re-election next year.

Just two days after her announcement, Mr. Van Hollen revealed his plans. On Friday, he won an endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.

SEE ALSO: Martin O’Malley passes on run for Barbara Mikulski’s Senate seat

On Monday at the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville, the seven-term congressman appeared at a press conference with council members and County Executive Isiah Leggett, all of whom endorsed Mr. Van Hollen’s campaign.

“I welcome the opportunity to have a discussion around the state with anybody who chooses to throw their hat into the ring and be a part of this great democratic process,” said Mr. Van Hollen, 56.

Thanking the officials for their support, he noted the county’s progressive initiatives that likely would become themes of his Senate campaign, such as increasing the minimum wage and battling climate change.

Also on Monday, The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported that Ms. Edwards, whose 4th Congressional District includes Prince George’s County, will soon announce her bid to run for Ms. Mikulski’s Senate seat. Ms. Edwards is serving her fourth term in the House.

In addition, Ms. Rawlings-Blake told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that she would take a look at running, saying that Ms. Mikulski was “like having a Baltimore girl in the Senate,” the AP reported. The New York Times reported Friday that Mr. Jealous is considering a Senate bid.

No GOP contenders have announced plans to enter the race in Maryland, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

This article is based on wire service reports.

• Carleton Bryant can be reached at cbryant@washingtontimes.com.

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