Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) insisted Wednesday that he could still run for the U.S. Senate, with the filing deadline less than a month away.
“I have it circled — believe me,” Cummings said in an interview with Baltimore’s WYPR, referring to the Feb. 3 deadline to file nomination papers in the Democratic primary. Laughing, he added, “My wife reminds me every day.”
Even a very late-moving Cummings candidacy would shake up a race that at the moment features two candidates from the D.C. suburbs.
Polls have consistently shown that Cummings would lead in a race against Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, both of whom have been campaigning for months to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D). A Baltimore Sun poll conducted after Van Hollen began a major ad blitz in Baltimore found that 40 percent of Democratic primary voters still would choose Cummings. Van Hollen’s congressional district is based in Montgomery County, while Edwards represents Prince George’s County and part of Anne Arundel County.
Van Hollen has dramatically outraised Edwards, who is relying on the women’s group Emily’s List for financial support. Cummings is not known as a great fundraiser, and he has not intensified his fundraising efforts over the past few months. Yet he has more than $1 million in his congressional campaign account — almost three times what Edwards had on hand by the end of September.
However, Baltimore politicians and donors who were waiting for Cummings have begun to move on.
The Democratic members of the Baltimore County Council endorsed Van Hollen this week. Baltimore NAACP President Tessa Hill-Aston is supporting him as well.
Cummings, who lives in troubled West Baltimore, has repeatedly said he wants to do what is best for his city after a year marked by riots, a rising homicide rate and a mistrial for one of the police officers implicated in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
“Here in the House, I have a large staff because of the role I play as ranking member” of the House Oversight Committee, Cummings said in the radio interview.
“I want to do whatever will allow me to be most effective in representing my constituents.”