Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) says he won’t run for Senate in 2016 to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who announced her retirement on Monday.
“Senator Mikulski has done an outstanding job representing Maryland in the U.S. Senate for nearly 30 years,” O’Malley said in a statement Tuesday. “I am hopeful and confident that very capable public servants with a desire to serve in the Senate will step up as candidates for this important office. I will not be one of them.”
Democrats in Maryland still have a huge field of potential contenders who could vie for the party’s nomination.
Strategists are mentioning nearly every name from the Maryland Democratic delegation in the House, including Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Donna Edwards, John Delaney, Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes.
Van Hollen might be in the best position to launch a bid. The Budget Committee ranking member and former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has long been eyeing the Senate and has about $1.7 million in his war chest.
Outside of the House, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former state Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown are believed to be potential candidates.
Maryland is traditionally blue, but Republicans won the governor’s mansion there in 2014 and have signaled they intend to compete for the open Senate seat.
The GOP also has a deep field of potential candidates, including former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. 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.