Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) was endorsed for reelection Friday by the Democrat he beat six years ago, on the morning after state Sen. C. Anthony Muse announced he was challenging Cardin in the April primary.

Former congressman Kweisi Mfume, whom Cardin beat by 3 percentage points in a hard-fought 2006 primary, said he was backing his old foe because he “stands up for values important to Marylanders.:

Kweisi Mfume (Washington Post File)

“Ben works around the gridlock and gets the job done,” Mfume said in a statement released by the Cardin campaign. ”Importantly, I know that he is a principled leader who understands that compromise is possible without sacrificing important values.”

The support of Mfume, the former head of the NAACP, is significant in part because Muse, who is African-American, has made the fact that there are no black members of the Senate a part of his campaign pitch.

Other prominent African-American Democrats who have endorsed Cardin include Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.