WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2016)—Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, announced in a statement Tuesday that he will run for re-election for his House seat rather than for the U.S. Senate.
His decision means the Democratic fight to replace five-term Sen. Barbara Mikulski, also a Democrat, is between Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards.
"I believe that I can best serve the people of our city, our state and our nation by continuing my work in Congress, by continuing to touch people in every part of our great nation, and by leading an united effort to elect progressives across the board—rather than by focusing upon one single Senate race," Cummings said in his statement.
The deadline to file for candidacy is Wednesday.
A Baltimore Sun-University of Baltimore poll of likely Democratic primary voters in November 2015 showed Cummings leading in the Senate race with 40 percent of the vote. Van Hollen, D-Kensington, had 28 percent and Edwards, D-Fort Washington, had 19 percent.
More recently, Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. polling showed Van Hollen with a slight lead over Edwards for the April Democratic primary vote, 38 percent to 36 percent, with 24 percent of voters undecided.
An analysis by Gonzales Research suggested Edwards could have an advantage over Van Hollen when it's time to vote. While Van Hollen leads among men, 45 percent to 30 percent, Edwards is ahead with women, 40 percent to 33 percent.
Women make up almost 60 percent of votes in the Democratic primary in Maryland, which is why Edwards could have the edge, according to the polling firm.
Other Democratic candidates include Fred Donald Dickson, Jr.; Ralph Jaffe; Charles U. Smith; Violet Staley; Blaine Taylor; Ed Tinus and Lih Young.
The Republican candidates are Maryland State Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga; Chris Chaffee; Richard J. Douglas; John R. Graziani; Greg Holmes; Chrys Kefalas; Lynn Richardson; Anthony Seda; Richard Shawver; Dave Wallace; and Garry Thomas Yarrington.
With Democratic voters in Maryland outnumbering Republicans by a roughly 55 percent-26 percent margin, the Senate seat is likely to remain Democratic, according to analysts.