U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) plans to announce on Tuesday that she will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Barbara A. Mikulski (D), according to two Democrats familiar with her plans, setting up a potentially bruising primary fight with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).
Van Hollen — who had been considered a possible successor to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — declared his intention to run for Senate last week and has already secured the endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Edwards, 56, has drawn early support from national progressive organizations, who helped her oust incumbent Albert Wynn in the 2008 Democratic primary and last week announced a movement to get her to run for Senate. But it remains to be seen whether efforts by groups such as Emily’s List and the Feminist Majority will be enough to offset an early funding advantage held by Van Hollen, a proven fundraiser who has $1.7 million in his campaign account.
Edwards’s decision to run was confirmed by two Maryland Democrats with whom she has spoken about her plans. They asked for anonymity in order to speak candidly about what she had told them. Edwards spokesman Benjamin Gerdes said Edwards “is seriously considering a run for the United States Senate and will make a decision in the coming days.”
Edwards is infinitely preferable to Van Hollen in the Senate just based on her voting record. She's a strong liberal candidate who will continue Mikulski's work and improve on it. Van Hollen is a corporate New Democrat who would be a terrible Senator and about as reliable a blue vote as the current Heitkamp/Manchin/Donnelly Blue Dog wing of the Senate.
So yes, this is a perfect opportunity to get a better Dem in the seat. I'd love to see Van Hollen sent home with Kathleen Mathews in his House seat and with Van Hollen out of Congress period, but I'm thinking that won't happen, and there's the issue of who would replace Edwards in the House.
We'll see how it all shakes out.