Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland will not seek reelection in 2024, opening another Senate seat to a competitive race.
The 79-year-old Democrat has served in the federal government for almost four decades.
“I am proud of all I have done for Maryland,” the senator tweeted on May 1. ”I have given my heart and soul to our great state, and I thank Marylanders for trusting me as your representative for all these years.”
In his video announcement, Cardin’s wife Myrna recalls the Democrat’s first race for the Maryland House of Delegates 56 years earlier when he was a senior in law school. The senator highlighted his work to enact human rights regulations, his environmental initiatives, and his personal devotion to public service, which he attributes to his Jewish faith and family.
“But Ben, I think it’s time,” said Myrna in the video.
“It is time,” the senator agreed. “When this term ends, it will be my last year as a reelected official. I will not seek reelection.”
Cardin served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1986 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 2006. For the last 17 years, Cardin has been a member of the U.S. Senate.
He is currently the Chair of the Senate’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee. He also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations, Finance, and Environment & Public Works committees.
“During his tenure in the Senate, Cardin has been a leader in health care, retirement security, the environment and fiscal issues,” reports AP News. “The senator has also been a leading advocate for clean water and the Chesapeake Bay, the nation’s largest estuary, which flows through his home state.”
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Congressmen David Trone, and Congressman Jamie Raskin are all believed to be considering a run to fill Cardin’s vacated seat. It is not clear if former Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, will seek the office.
“Cardin’s retirement is expected to trigger a political dogfight in Maryland, where U.S. Senate seats don’t open often,” reports Time Magazine. “Two of the most recent former Senators—Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski—served in their seats for 30 years.”
Cardin is one of four Senate Democrats who have announced they will not seek reelection next year. Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin will all leave office in 2025.
Of the 33 Senate seats that will be on the ballot, 20 are currently held by Democrats while another 3 are held by independents that caucus with the party. Republicans will be defending 10 seats.
Senator Jon Tester has announced he will run again in 2024 in Montana in what is predicted to be a contentious race.
“I’m the most vulnerable Democratic Senator up in 2024—which means I’m gonna need your help,” he told his supporters in February. “National Republicans are planning to spend millions to attack me.”
In addition to Montana, Republicans are expected to launch serious challenges in West Virginia, Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania in an effort to flip seats currently held by Democrats.