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.  

“Bryant dropping out says a lot,” said Martha McKenna, a Baltimore-based Democratic operative.  

Bryant, who leads a church of 12,000, told the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday night, “I believe the continued stewardship of my church is my highest calling.”  

Another sign? Cummings told reporters in Baltimore he would make his intentions clear during stops in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County — all parts of the 7th District he represents.  

When asked Tuesday what should be read into his those plans and whether they meant he had decided one way or the other on the Senate seat, Cummings — who has been coy about the subject for months now — hedged again: "You never know," he said .  

A spokesman for Cummings did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.  

Cummings' entrance into the Senate race had the potential to shake up the field, adding a Baltimore candidate to a race that looks to be between two Democrats from the Washington, D.C., metro area: Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards.  

For several months now, both Van Hollen and Edwards have been securing support from across the state.  

The Maryland Senate seat, like Cummings' House seat, is rated Safe Democrat  by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.  

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