Cummings is favorite in Maryland, says poll
© Greg Nash

Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Dems blast Trump for 'conflating' Chinese, Russian election interference claims Meet the man poised to battle Dems from the White House MORE would be the immediate front-runner for Maryland’s open Senate seat if he chooses to enter the race, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and the University of Maryland.

The poll finds Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi, taking 33 percent of the vote from Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents, compared to 20 percent for both Rep. Donna EdwardsDonna F. EdwardsDemocratic Senate candidate blasts own party for racial 'foghorn' Autoworkers' union endorsing Van Hollen in MD Senate race Dem leaders' hard sell pays off on omnibus MORE and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDem senator: 'Shameful' seeing Trump serve as 'mouthpiece' for Saudi leaders Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist MORE, who are in the race.

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With Cummings out of the race, Edwards wins 38 percent of the vote compared to 28 percent for Van Hollen.

Cummings is in his 10th term in Congress and is a familiar face nationally from his frequent cable television appearances.

He’s been a tough presence on both the Benghazi panel and the House Oversight and Government Reform panel, where he tangled for years with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

He was also widely seen locally and nationally during coverage of riots this spring in Baltimore that broke out after the death of Freddie Gray while Gray was in police custody.

Cummings will be in the spotlight again next week when Hillary Clinton testifies before the Benghazi panel on Oct. 22. Cummings has said he will make a decision on entering the Maryland Senate race after Clinton’s appearance.

Democrats will be heavily favored to win the general election for the Senate in Maryland. The race is to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiAthletic directors honor best former student-athletes on Capitol Hill Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree MORE (D).

The poll suggests Van Hollen could be in trouble in the primary despite a funding advantage. Against Edwards, who is African-American, Van Hollen wins just 15 percent of the black vote compared to 49 percent for Edwards.

With Cummings also in the race, Edwards’s share of the African-American vote falls to just 6 percent.

Van Hollen has often been seen as a potential successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the House but chose to take a rare opportunity for advancement to the Senate when Mikulski announced she would retire.

A campaign spokeswoman for Van Hollen downplayed the results, saying internal polling data had Van Hollen ahead.

"This poll reflects what everyone has always known — the campaign depends on the battle for the undecided voters in the Baltimore area," said Sheila O'Connell, Van Hollen for Senate Campaign Manager. 
 
"The Post poll was conducted before our campaign aired its first television ad in Baltimore," she continued." We have growing endorsements in the area, from respected legislators to grassroots activists. And our polling shows Van Hollen slightly ahead at the outset, with his lead growing as voters learn more about the records of candidates in the race. Unlike the Post, we polled off actual voter lists instead of a random sample of adults who say they might vote in the primary. We are very confident in our data."
 
A spokesman for Edwards also disputed the Post poll, insisting their polling shows Edwards ahead in the race. They also noted, pointedly, that their poll has been released publicly.
 
 
"Donna's lead in the polls continues to grow because she’s the only progressive fighter in this race willing take on the special interests that stand in the way of progress for Maryland's middle class families," said Edwards spokesman Benjamin Geddes. "In Donna, Marylanders can count on a progressive champion who will protect Social Security, fight income inequality, and stand down the National Rifle Association when they try to secretly buy off politicians."
 
The poll conducted by Edwards found her with a 42-37 percent lead over Van Hollen. It did not include Cummings in the race, though it found 65 percent of respondents held a favorable view of him.
 
Updated at 1:57 p.m.