U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin will not seek re-election in 2024, the Maryland Democrat announced Monday.
“Thank you, Marylanders. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of my life to represent you in the United States Senate. I’ve given my heart and soul to try and do my best, and I thank you for giving me that opportunity,” Cardin said in a video alongside his wife, Myrna.
Cardin will complete his third and final term as one of Maryland’s senators next year, after he was first elected to the seat in 2006.
“There is still much work to be done” over the next two years, Cardin said in a statement. He plans to prioritize protecting the Chesapeake Bay, providing further assistance to Baltimore City, and permanently expanding telehealth, mental and behavioral health opportunities.
Cardin began his political career when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1968 while still attending the University of Maryland’s law school. He went on to become one of the youngest House Speakers in Maryland’s history, serving in that role from 1979 to 1986.
Cardin was then elected to represent Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987-2006.
He currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. He is also the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations and Environment & Public Works Committees; a member of the Senate Finance Committee; and co-chair of the Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.
“As Small Business Chair, I will continue to work on behalf of small businesses in Maryland and across the country who still face a tough economic climate,” Cardin said in a statement. “We need to keep building up the tools available to help our small businesses, especially women-owned, veteran-owned, minority owned and underserved entrepreneurs. I plan to make the most of every moment left.”
Senate Republicans blocked an attempt last month by Democrats to have Cardin fill California Sen. Dianne Feistein’s seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Feinstein’s absence due to medical issues has halted Democrats’ ability to push forward President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland’s other U.S. senator, applauded his colleague’s work on behalf of Marylanders and people nationwide.
“I salute my friend [Sen. Cardin] on his extraordinary public service to MD & our country,” Van Hollen tweeted. “His work to advance social justice, protect our environment & promote human rights has made our world a better place. Much more still to do over the next year and a half!”
I salute my friend @SenatorCardin on his extraordinary public service to MD & our country. His work to advance social justice, protect our environment & promote human rights has made our world a better place.
Much more still to do over the next year and a half! https://t.co/Q3V7smeWsO — Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) May 1, 2023
Last year, political analysts and party leaders questioned whether then-Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan might run for U.S. Senate.
But despite attempts by Republican leadership to recruit the governor into a senate race, Hogan put those questions to rest when he announced in February 2022 that he would not run for the U.S. Senate.In anticipation of Cardin’s retirement, Democrats have floated several possible names to replace the outgoing senator, including Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, U.S. Rep. David Trone, U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, and 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous.