An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Clearing the Senate Field

Rollcall reports talk of clearing the field in the Maryland Democratic Senate primary.

In Maryland, some national and state black politicians are suggesting that the party clear the field for former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (D), who has already declared his candidacy.

Mfume said that while he has not been part of any discussions about pressuring the party to get behind him, he understands why black voters and leaders are frustrated.

“Probably what you are seeing is people who are very loyal Democrats assuming and believing that the party, to hold on to its base in the black community, needs to be showing a demonstrable willingness to do what it can to promote black candidates,” he said.

But several political observers believe that Mfume’s chances of winning increase in a multicandidate primary and that he would be the underdog in a head-to-head race with one white opponent.

Moreover, not all black leaders are insisting that the party make way for Mfume.
For starters, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D), who succeeded Mfume in Congress, has still not ruled out a Senate run, though it is considered unlikely at this stage. Neither has Prince George’s County States Attorney Glenn Ivey (D), who is also black. And black Members of Congress may be hesitant to take sides in a primary in which some of their colleagues, black or white, may be competing.


Locally, Ike Leggett was at a meeting in Silver Spring Sunday to promote his candidacy for County Executive, Nancy Floreen is out shaking hands in what some have suggested is outreach prior to a congressional race, and Del. Bill Bronrott won a health care award.