Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., pledged to remain "neutral" in the Democratic primary to succeed his retiring colleague, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.
"I'm using Sen. Mikulski's words: I plan to be neutral but not passive," Cardin said Thursday in a C-SPAN "Newsmakers" interview scheduled to run this weekend. "We'll be very active to make sure that Maryland maintains a Democratic seat in the United States Senate. And we will have some interesting primaries in the House of Representatives as well." Mikulski's retirement announcement last week set off scramble for the rare open Senate seat in Maryland. Two Maryland Democrats — Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen — have announced their candidacies for the open Senate seat, sparking scrambles for their House seats. Several other members of the delegation are considering bids for Senate as well.
"She still has two more years in office. What a legacy she has left, and it's created a lot of interest in her seat, and we have a great bench," Cardin said. "We have a great delegation of people that are interested in running for her seat, and there's many others throughout Maryland. So, I think we'll have a competitive primary, and a competitive primary to me could be very healthy for the Democratic party, but we want it to be positive. We want it to focus on the person's vision for the United States Senate, their qualifications and let the Democratic voters nominate the best."
The definitive battle will likely be the primary because Maryland usually elects Democrats, especially in presidential cycles. But Cardin said he would work to make sure that remained the case.
"I can assure you Sen. Mikulski and I are going to do everything we can to make sure that seat is held by our Democratic nominee," he said.
Related: Mikulski Will Not Seek Another Term Donna Edwards Replacements Start Lining Up Van Hollen’s Exit Changes House Democratic Leadership Landscape The Maryland Democrat Who Wants to Stay Where He Is Van Hollen May Not Have Field to Himself The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.