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Baltimore the Battleground for Two Maryland Senate Candidates

With Cummings out of the Maryland Senate race, Baltimore, his hometown, will be key for Edwards and Van Hollen. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly File Photo)

In the political theater Maryland voters will see over the next nearly three months ahead of the April elections, the main characters in the state's Democratic primary finally know their roles.  

Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, two Democrats who had been looking over their shoulder for months to see if Rep. Elijah E. Cummings was looking to join them in the race for retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's Senate seat, got the news they were hoping for on Tuesday: He won't.  After months of consideration, Cummings, the popular Baltimore lawmaker, announced he would seek election to a 12th term in Congress representing the state's 7th District. The move solidifies the primary field for this seat, which is rated Safe Democratic by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.  

Elijah Cummings Won't Run for Senate in Maryland

Cummings will run for re-election, not Senate. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who had been considering a campaign for his state's open seat in the Senate, said Tuesday he has decided to run instead for a 12th term in Congress.  

His public statement came after months of speculation that the Baltimore resident would join Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen in the race for retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's seat, a race in which polling suggested he would enter as the front-runner. "I am mindful of the great opportunity that service in the United States Senate would present," Cummings said in a statement. "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."  

With Wednesday Deadline Looming, Cummings Hasn't Filed for Office in Maryland

Cummings, at left, still has not decided whether he will run for Senate or re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated: 5:52 p.m. | If you were browsing the Maryland Board of Elections website midday on Monday, you might have thought you'd stumbled upon some news.  

For at least a couple hours, the board's official website showed that Rep. Elijah E. Cummings — the Democrat considering joining the competitive Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by Maryland Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski — had filed for re-election in the state's 7th District, with just two days to spare until Wednesday night's filing deadline.  

Signs Point Against Cummings Running for Senate

Democratic operatives say "tea leaves" point toward Cummings seeking re-election rather than Maryland's Senate seat. (File Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, who has been considering entering the Democratic race for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat, said he will reveal his plans for 2016 during a three-stop tour that could come in “maybe less than two weeks .”  

Cummings revealed his plans on Tuesday, just a few hours before Baltimore Rev. Jamal H. Bryant — who was seen by some as perhaps the toughest Democratic primary opponent in the 10-term lawmaker's career — said he would drop his own campaign for the 7th District seat.   Martha McKenna, a Baltimore-based Democratic operative, said the “tea leaves” point toward Cummings staying out of the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski to focus instead on his own re-election and representing Baltimore.