March 11, 2005

Sarbanes Out

Paul Sarbanes (D - Maryland) has decided not to seek a sixth term. Notable nugget in the WaPo writeup:

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert)... said that he hopes either [Montgomery County Executive Doug] Duncan or [Baltimore Mayor Martin] O'Malley will seek Sarbanes seat, allowing Democrats to unify around one candidate for governor.

"I think it could serve as a possible means by which Democrats could avoid a truly divisive gubernatorial primary in 2006," Miller said. "If that's the outcome, it would be very positive."

Miller would not say which candidate should leave the governor's race.

"Eventually it will become apparent to one of them who is the more popular person," he said.

It doesn't seem to be apparent to either of them yet. O'Malley's statement:

Although Senator Sarbanes will be difficult to follow, the Democratic Party will have a very strong candidate - whom I look forward to supporting. I will not seek his seat. We are laying the groundwork to run for governor.

I just got off the phone with Doug Duncan's office, where the official word is likewise that "The County Executive will not be a candidate for the United States Senate" and that he is "continuing to lay the groundwork for a run for governor." As the WaPo article says, several Democrats are likely to seek Sarbanes seat, especially with Duncan and particularly O'Malley out of the way; my guess is that Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who already has an exploratory committee, will have the edge going in, but I could be wrong. On the Republican side, the rumor is that Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is being courted for the Senate run. Steele's spokeswoman, Regan Hopper, is as I write in a meeting with Steele, no doubt trying to figure out what their line is for now. I'll have more in my AmSpec column on Monday.

Posted by John Tabin at March 11, 2005 05:06 PM