May 1, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin to retire after 2024

Sen. Ben Cardin, wearing a blue suit, light blue shirt and blue-and-yellow striped tie, walks up the stairs from the Senate SCIF.

Sen. Ben Cardin. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Image.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) on Monday announced plans to retire rather than seek a fourth term in the Senate.

Why it matters: Cardin's retirement announcement could spur a crowded Democratic primary in the solidly blue state, which hasn't had a Senate vacancy since 2016.

Driving the news: “I have run my last election and will not be on the ballot in 2024," Cardin, 79, said in a Monday statement, adding that "there is still much work to be done" before his term expires in January 2025.

  • The chair of the Small Business Committee and former ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Cardin has served in the Senate since 2007.
  • He previously served as a member of the U.S. House and as speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.

What we're watching: A large field of would-be Democratic successors could materialize. Cardin told the Baltimore Sun: “I know that people are interested. Let’s see who is prepared to do it. I am extremely confident we will hold the seat."

  • Prince George's County executive Angela Alsobrooks, Rep. David Trone and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, have been reported as potential candidates.
  • A similar battle is playing out over a Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

The other side: "Democrats are quickly realizing that the Senate won't be any fun for them when Republicans retake the majority in 2024," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Tate Mitchell said in a statement.

  • Former Gov. Larry Hogan – who, along with his lieutenant governor, is the only Republican to have won statewide office in Maryland in 20 years – is reportedly being courted to run but has long ruled out interest in seeking a Senate seat.
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