Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sen. Ben Cardin Facing Primary Challenge from Maryland Sen. Anthony Muse

Popular U.S. Senator Ben Cardin is facing a potential Democratic primary challenge from Maryland Senator Anthony Muse of Prince George's County. Is this attempted mutiny quixotic? Mr. Muse, also a minister, is widely known for his strident position opposing marriage equality (though he does support repeal of the death penalty in MD).  

The Washington Post reported on his reasons for forming an exploratory effort for U.S. Senate:

“Nobody has talked about lately these wars and bringing our soldiers home,” Muse said.

He added that “there is something to be said about the fact that we don’t have an African American serving in the United States Senate....”
Muse noted that in 2006, when Cardin was first elected to the U.S Senate, he faced a close primary challenge from Kweisi Mfume, another African American candidate, who raised far less money than Cardin.

In the primary, Cardin finished atop a crowded Democratic field, with 43.7 percent of the vote. Mfume was close behind, with 40.5 percent.
Maryland Juice has a few comments on this quote. First, it seems unwise to use 2006 numbers to plan a run in 2012. In 2006, the U.S. Senate seat was an open seat, but in 2012 Sen. Cardin will be running for re-election as an incumbent. Back in '06, Maryland Juice was very interested in Kweise Mfume's Senate candidacy. But since then, Mr. Cardin's staff in Montgomery County have been very active on his behalf, and Mr. Cardin's voting record has topped "most liberal" lists.

I think that, plus some of Mr. Muse's own views, should cast doubt on any assumptions that he would claim the Mfume vote. Nevertheless, sources tell Maryland Juice, Mr. Muse hopes to be aided by the "bump" of new voter registrants from President Obama's 2008 run. Bear in mind that a run for U.S. Senate is a "free shot" for a State Senator. The State Senate elections take place two years after the U.S. Senate election, and Mr. Muse will not have to step down from his seat to run for federal office.

This mutiny may not be so quixotic if you scratch beneath the surface, however. This candidacy (remember it is a free shot) may simply be designed to boost Sen. Muse's standing in front of a future run for office. That is a well-worn political trick....

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