Sen. Ben CardinThe announcement of (D-Md.)’s retirement in May immediately fueled speculation that Raskin would run. But he delayed his decision after a recent bout of cancer that is now in remission and cited his work with the Oversight Committee as the main reason for staying in the House.
Raskin’s statement cited his work on the House Oversight panel and the possibility of becoming its chairman as reasons for remaining in the lower house. In the weeks leading up to his announcement, Raskin, a constitutional law expert, had openly wondered whether he would have more impact as a junior senator or as chairman of the Oversight Committee if Democrats regained the House next year and asked privately recommend to his colleagues. Democrats are optimistic they can flip the lower house, even if the path to maintaining a majority in the Senate is much narrower.
Raskin acknowledged the conflict in his statement, saying that “if I had two political careers, I would gladly give one of them a year-and-a-half campaign for the Senate,” but that he had “a different and more urgent career calling right now” and he would not be able to leave the Chamber. In recent weeks he had privately sought advice from his colleagues on how to proceed.
His panel perch on Oversight was a hard-won position, with Raskin beating out older peers for the role. Raskin elevated younger, more progressive colleagues to the high-profile panel, naming « team » member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) as his number two.
Raskin’s decision not to run leaves the progressive lane open in the primaries. Top contenders in the primary currently include Montgomery County Executive Will Jawando, Prince George County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.). Alsobrooks relies on some institutional backing, drawing the backing of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and has posted strong fundraising numbers. Trone is able to tap into a deep well of its own race funds, having self-funded previous convention offerings. And Jawando has touted his liberal credentials.