Democrats across Maryland have publicly mourned Sen. Barbara Mikulski's decision to retire in 2016. With that decision, though, came a reason for many to celebrate: a rare opportunity to move up the state's political ladder.
With Rep. Chris Van Hollen announcing his Senate bid last week, Rep. Donna Edwards reportedly preparing to announce a campaign this week, and another four House Democrats signaling interest in running, local Democrats are eagerly—and not very subtly—sizing up their prospects for a rare political promotion in a state where only one congressional "safe seat" has been open in the last decade.
The talk has trickled down deep into the local level, where politicians are growing giddy about not only potential openings in Congress but also possible state legislative vacancies caused by incumbents in Annapolis jumping to Washington.
"People are already talking about, what if a state senator runs and wins? Who's going to take that seat? And if someone on the council wins, who will take theirs?" said Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer, a Democrat considering running to replace Van Hollen in the 8th Congressional District.
The shuffle could dramatically reshape Maryland's political ranks for the first time in decades thanks to rare open primaries. Edwards's seat hasn't been open since 1992; she defeated a veteran incumbent in a 2008 primary to win the seat. The Washington Post reported this weekend that Edwards would announce a Senate campaign Tuesday.