Progressive groups are teaming up to rally supporters to back Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) in a potential run for Senate in 2016 to replace retiring Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiIf 'bipartisanship' is now a dirty word, how about a rebranding? Overnight Energy: Senate panel approves EPA spending, rules bill Senate panel breaks with House on cuts to IRS MORE (D-Md.).
Democracy for America (DFA) and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) petitioned followers on Tuesday to support Edwards in the wide-open field of potential Democratic contenders that could be considering a run for Senate.
Edwards is a fresh face for the party who became a favorite among progressives after she knocked off a longtime Democrat in 2008. The PCCC email highlighted Edwards’ victory over “a Wall Street Democrat.”
“Since joining Congress, Donna Edwards has gone to the mat for working families in Congress time and time again,” the DFA said. “She was the first member of Congress to introduce a bill to overturn Citizens United, and she was a leading advocate in the House for the Violence Against Women Act.”
Edwards’s district has been redrawn to have a more conservative bent, potentially making a statewide run more appealing to her. An email to her office for comment about a potential Senate run has not been returned.
In addition to Edwards, Democratic strategists are mentioning nearly every name from the Maryland Democratic delegation in the House as a potential Senate contender, including Reps. Chris Van Hollen, John Delaney, Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes.
Van Hollen is believed to have had his eyes on a Senate seat for some time, and he’d be a formidable opponent with about $1.7 million in his campaign account.
But the list of potential candidates extends outside the House, and includes Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former state Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and former Maryland attorney general Doug Gansler.
“Many Democratic politicians are already expressing interest in this Senate seat,” DFA said. "We want to make sure that all of the best possible candidates are considered…If Donna Edwards gets into the race, she will need strong grassroots support. Do you want Donna Edwards to run for Senate?”
The email links to a two-question survey asking supporters if they think Edwards should run and if they would join a “Draft Edwards” movement.
Republicans hope to compete for Senate in the traditionally blue state in 2016. In the last cycle, the GOP pulled a huge upset when Republican Larry Hogan defeated then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the gubernatorial race.
Republicans have a similarly large field of potential contenders, led by former Gov. Bob Erhlich. Potential GOP presidential contender Ben Carson, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, Rep. Andy Harris, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, current Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who lost a Senate bid in 2012 and House bid in 2014, have also been mentioned as potential candidates.