In Maryland, Are Dems Looking At Another Surprise Senate Retirement? Please Babs Retire!!!!

In Maryland, Are Dems Looking At Another Surprise Senate Retirement?

Ever since Democrats found themselves losing the seat that Ted Kennedy once held to Republican Scott Brown, they have been hearing nothing but bad news. In addition to the surprise retirement announcements of several Democrat senators prior to the loss of the seat in Massachusetts, two term Democrat Indiana senator, Evan Bayh, just announced his own retirement.


That announcement was a big blow. As one of the most safe seats that Democrats have up for election in the 2010, his last minute departure leaves Democrats expecting to have to write that seat off as one of just another one of the many losses to expect.

Now word has it that 4 term Maryland incumbent senator Barbara Mikulski is ready to turn her senate parking pass in.

After 24 years in office, Mikulski is said to reportedly be unwilling to seek a fifth term, largely because of a slow and painful recovery from surgery that was required to repair a broken right ankle that she suffered last year.

It is also said that friends and family of the senator have been hinting that a retirement announcement is expected in the very near future.

For Mikulski, her reelection in Maryland was never in doubt. At least it was never seen to be in doubt. So her possible departure from the senate stage is not likely out of fear of losing her reelection bid. However, for any senator who has lost some of their enthusiasm, the possibility of serving in the minority again is not enticing. So with the increasing possibility of a Republican takeover of the Senate, Mikulski probably does not have much to encourage her to continue schlepping around Washington, D.C. and alover her state.

Although Mikulski would probably be assured of her own reelection to the senate, below the surface, even in the relatively liberal electorate of the Border State, there does exist an underlying anger at the way things are going. Such anger may not have been enough to unseat Barbara Mikulski but it could be enough to help propel a good Republican into Mikulski’s senate seat should she not be running for it.

Currently, I am not sure if any of the anticipated candidates can be described as the right “good Republican” to win the seat for the G.O.P.. Of the four perspective Republican candidates, Corrogan Vaughn, a political consultant, is the most conservative and very articulate. The other potential candidates are attorney Jim Rutledge III, Daniel McAndrew, an engineer and Eric Wargotz, a physician who is currently serving as president of the Queen Ann County Commission. I fear that none of them will catch on against any decent Democrat Senate candidate. However one man who could catch on and steel away this most unlikely of seats is former Governor Bob Ehrlich.

Bob Erhlich is a populist conservative. His conservatism comes across as more commonsense than ideological. It is how he got elected Governor, almost 8 years ago, and became one of the few Republicans to be elected to any statewide office in Maryland since the 70’s.

Ehrlich had been looking at a rematch against Martin O’Malley, the man who narrowly defeated him for reelection four years ago. O’Malley has been dropping in popularity as his mismanagement of Maryland has people rethinking their decision in the last election. So for Bob Ehrlich, either seat offers a promising shot at victory.   But winning the governor’s race might be most important, especially in light of a political arrangement that may be in the works and legislation that will give the next Governor great power in the redistricting process that  will shape the districts that candidates run in.

There is word that Democrats have urged Mikulski to stay on and run for reelection.  They really do not want to have to invest time and money into Maryland, and if she remains on the ticket, they will not have to.   So national Democrats have asked her to stay and resign a few months after she has been sworn in to her fifth term.  This would allow the Governor to fill Mikulski’s vacated senate seat.  But that scenario relies heavily on Martin O’Malley winning reeelction.  If Ehrlich runs again for Governor, his good chances of winning would throw a big monkey wrench into their plans and it would allow Republican Bob Ehrlich to dominate in the process that draws new congressionl and state legislative districts.  That Republican led redistricting process that would exist if he does beat O’Malley, could end up producing another Republican congressional district or two and many more Republican state legislative districts.

It would also force Barbara Mikulski to either stay at a job she wants retire from or, after winning reelection, resigning as she originally wanted and allowing  a Republican governor to choose her succesor.

Between the deals, favors and attempts to address both current and future isues, it can all get pretty complicated.  But such is the world of politics, a world where attempts to decieve, weave some pretty tangled webs.


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