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Political Notes: Cardin considers bid to succeed Cardin, Davis recalls Broadwater’s advice, regional water task force named

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D). Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

A Cardin in the United States Senate?

No, Sen. Ben Cardin is not considering rescinding his recent decision to retire. Del. Jon Cardin (D-Baltimore County), the nephew of Maryland’s senior senator, said he would consider getting into the race under the right conditions.

Del. Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County)

“If I’m dealt a certain number of cards, a certain type of cards, and if the weather’s right, and everything else worked out, it would be something I would seriously consider,” Cardin said, adding that he is not ready to get in given the current state of the Democratic primary field.

Included in that field are Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando, Rep. David Trone and Jerome Segal. There is also a trio of unknowns including Bryan Frydenbourg, who describes himself as a foreign policy analyst and journalist, Steve Seuferer, and Andrew Jaye Wildman, who mounted an unsuccessful third-party write-in campaign for U.S. Senate in 2022.

Cardin said he considers Alsobrooks and Trone the top two candidates. He said he would consider getting into the race if additional “serious candidates got into the race.”

“I think the window stays open, the window reopens, if multiple candidates get in the race, or if there are vulnerable cracks that show in any of the campaigns which give an opportunity for somebody else to get in. Or if a candidate comes out of the Republican Party that gives me pause,” he said.

Cardin would also likely need the support of his party statewide. The 53-year-old delegate and father of two is in his fifth term in the House. It is his second stint in the General Assembly after a four-year hiatus brought on by an unsuccessful bid for attorney general in 2014.

For now, Cardin said he is content to stand by and watch and wait.

“It seems as if the party wants to get behind Alsobrooks,” he said.

Cardin said that early all-in support concerns him. He worries about vulnerabilities that could appear during the campaign. Vulnerabilities that Republicans could exploit.

“I am the best chance for my party to win a general given what I bring to the nomination,” said Cardin. “I have tremendous respect for the candidates that are in. I think that everybody has weaknesses and everybody has vulnerabilities. But if a very popular Republican got in, they could give either David Trone or Angela Alsobrooks a run for their money for various and sundry reasons.”

Two Republicans who fit Cardin’s mold are former Gov. Larry Hogan and former Lt. Gov. and Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele.

“I think that either of those two could be potential problems” for Alsobrooks and Trone, Cardin said.

“I mean, if either of those two Republican candidates got in, it would give me great pause,” Cardin said when asked if he worried the Senate seat could flip to a Republican.

Cardin would need to raise a lot of money — something other candidates are already doing. The delegate said he believes he can raise $6 million in three to five months. He pointed out that a prohibition on fundraising for lawmakers during the General Assembly session would not apply if he were a candidate in a federal race.

He acknowledged his name would rally some voters to his campaign automatically.

Cardin said he is not pressed to decide before the year’s end. He has yet to discuss a campaign with his uncle, the current senator.

“I will say that I think that he knows what’s going on in my head,” said Cardin. “We know each other well enough to know but we haven’t really talked about it because it’s not the time for me to make that decision.”

While Cardin bides his time, other candidates continue to announce endorsements.

Jawando announced Thursday the endorsement of Del. Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery).

Davis remembers Broadwater’s early advice

Count Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) among a lengthy list of Prince George’s County candidates and elected officials who benefited from the counsel of former State Sen. Tommie Broadwater.

Davis, speaking Wednesday during the Board of Public Works Meeting, recounted an early meeting he had with Broadwater. The treasurer was a newly elected delegate at the time and sought Broadwater’s advice.

Treasurer Dereck Davis (D). Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

“I grabbed a notebook and pen, and I went to see him,” Davis said. “I’m ready to write down these heavy words of wisdom he’s going to give me about what to do,” said Davis. “So, I said, Senator Broadwater, I’m Dereck Davis, I just won the 25th, which was the adjacent district to his own district in 24. I said do you have any words? He was busy doing stuff. Then he stopped and he looked at me and I’m ready and he said: ‘Dereck don’t be no punk.'”

Broadwater died on July 11. He was 81.

The former senator, who was forced out of office after a federal food stamp fraud conviction, went on to have a second political act as an advisor to a generation of aspirants for political office. That wisdom could sometimes, as was the case with Davis, be dispensed in colorful ways.

Davis said he thought he initially understood the plain meaning of Broadwater’s words.

“It wasn’t until I got down here that I understood exactly what he was saying,” said Davis. “You have to work with others and play the game, whatever, all those things. But at the end of the day, you still are sent down here to represent the people. And you don’t compromise that. You don’t compromise the people you’re representing, and you fight with everything that you had.”

Funeral services for Broadwater are to be held on Aug. 1 at First Baptist Church of Glenarden. A viewing, at 9:30 a.m., will precede the services, which start at 11 a.m. Services also will be livestreamed.

“He was an inspiration to a lot of us in Prince George’s County, especially African American politicians and he will certainly be missed,” said Davis.

Regional water task force named

State and local leaders announced the appointment of a 13-member  commission which will spend four months looking for ways to revamp a regional water and wastewater system that serves nearly 2 million people in Baltimore and the surrounding region.

The filtration system at the Back River wastewater treatment plant in Baltimore County. Photo by Josh Kurtz.

Five members, named by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, include:

  • Baltimore City Comptroller Bill Henry, who will chair the group.
  • Lester Davis, vice president and chief of staff of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield. He previously served deputy chief of staff in the Baltimore Mayor’s office from 2019-2020.
  • Jason Mitchell, former director of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works.
  • Patrick Moran, president AFSCME Council 3.
  • Kisha L. Powell, general manager and CEO of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Water.

Three members named by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. include:

  • Lauren Buckler, deputy director, Baltimore County Department of Public Works & Transportation
  • Carla A. Reid, former General Manager, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Water
  • Robert M. Summers, former Maryland secretary of the Environment.

Five other members were named by state and regional officials.

Timothy Barr and Jessica Medicus were appointed by Gov Wes Moore (D). Barr is managing director of water and wastewater for the Maryland Environmental Service. Medicus is the environmental manager at Bay Associates Environmental Inc.

Sen. Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City) and House Environment and Transportation Vice Chair Del. Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County) will also serve on the panel. McCray and Stein were appointed by Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), respectively.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D) named Yosef Kebede, director of the Howard County Department of Public Works. Ball made the appointment on behalf of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. Ball chairs that organization.

The task force was created by the General Assembly to make recommendations to modernize governance of the water and wastewater system that serves 1.8 million in central Maryland. Currently the system is operated by Baltimore City.

But the system has been challenged in recent years and faced criticisms regarding billing.

The first meeting of the panel is scheduled for September.

Recommendations are due in January in time for the 2024 legislative session.


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Political Notes: Cardin considers bid to succeed Cardin, Davis recalls Broadwater’s advice, regional water task force named