ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski's announcement that she will retire at the end of her term has kicked off a scramble, spurring politicians who have waited in the wings for years to run for her seat, and in turn, creating new openings for others to seek.
Two Democratic U.S. House members already have jumped in line to succeed her, prompting state legislators and other potential candidates to eye their two House seats that will open up. More congressional seats could be up for grabs, as most the state's eight House members consider running for the rarely open Maryland Senate seat.
Former Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey, a Democrat, announced Wednesday that he will run for the seat of Rep. Donna Edwards, who publicly declared her campaign for Mikulski's seat just a day earlier. Del. Kumar Barve, a Democratic state legislator from Montgomery County, said Monday he will run to succeed Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who announced his Senate bid two days after the state's senior senator said she wouldn't run again.
Late Wednesday, a campaign staffer close to former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown told The Associated Press that Brown plans to announce Thursday that he will run for Edwards' seat. Brown was the Democratic candidate for governor who lost in November to Republican Larry Hogan in an upset.
Ripple effects are likely to continue, with plenty of time to announce candidacies before the state's primary in April 2016.
"I wouldn't be surprised if it's a big field," Ivey said Wednesday. "I guess the upside for voters is it'll give them plenty of choices." Ivey was first to say he will run for Edwards' seat.
Rep. John Delaney, a Maryland Democrat serving his second term in the state's 6th Congressional District, wrote on his Twitter account on the day of Mikulski's announcement that he would consider a Senate run. If he runs, that could trigger campaigns from both sides of the state Legislature.
Maryland Republicans, recently lifted by Hogan's victory, also are considering the possibilities. Rep. Andy Harris, Maryland's lone Republican congressman, is keeping his options open for a Senate run.
Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress, has held her Senate seat since 1987. Maryland has had only three U.S. senators in the last 38 years, and the opening on the horizon drew immediate interest.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, is considering a Senate run.
The Maryland General Assembly has been abuzz ever since Mikulski announced she would not seek re-election in 2016. That has set the stage for a domino effect of officials looking to advance in a heavily Democratic state with more than a year before the primary.
The impact has been clearly felt in the state capital, where lawmakers are about to enter the last month of their annual 90-day legislative session. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller alluded to the activity on the sidelines late last week, when he reminded lawmakers that Monday was the last day to introduce legislation without a suspension of the Senate rules. Maryland state legislators would be able to run for congressional seats without risking their state offices.
"I know some of you are focusing on running for Congress," Miller, D-Calvert, said Thursday, prompting some laughter in the Senate. "Some folks are running for the U.S. Senate, but aside from those thoughts, maybe if you'd consider getting the bills in the hopper before Monday, we'd appreciate it very much, OK?"