Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who began his career in the Maryland House of Delegates, returned to Annapolis on Monday night to schmooze with lawmakers about a possible bid for U.S. Senate.
“I wanted to come through just to show my face and to take the temperature of both houses with regard to where they stood in regards to the Senate race,” Cummings said. “My polling has shown that I would do very well, but it’s always good to check with the people in both of these chambers because they are the leaders in the state.”
Cummings, who is from Baltimore, said he has not made a decision about whether to join two House Democrats from the Washington suburbs who have already launched efforts to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).
“I’m still trying to figure it all out,” he said.
Cummings served in the House of Delegates for 14 years, becoming the first African American to be named Speaker Pro Tem. He was greeted with rousing applause and, after the session ended, bear hugs and warm handshakes.
Delegates asked to take pictures. So did the high school pages. One lawmaker said he saw some of the custodial staff taking selfies with the congressman.
Cummings, the ranking member of the House oversight committee, also briefly visited the Maryland Senate chamber, where he was given a seat of honor on the rostrum and introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Nathaniel J. McFadden (D-Baltimore) as a “great friend.”
Cummings kept his comments short, thanking the senators for their dedication and urging them to not lose touch with the lives of their constituents.
In an interview, he said he will base his decision on whether to run for Senate on where he believes he would be most effective in helping people.
“I have to figure out what role do I play,” he said. “It’s one of those decisions that I have to hand up to God. But I try to do it with as much information as I can muster. I’ll make a decision, but one thing I do feel good about is I have good choices.”
Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.