A US Senate race between Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Chris Van Hollen would be an epic and historic race to behold, and might reduce Donna Edwards–who has the least seniority of the three and is the weakest fundraiser by far–to the role of spoiler.
A Regional Candidate
Congressmen Cummings could be expected to carry the City of Baltimore by a bone crushingly large margin. A similar margin could be expected in suburban Howard County, where he is popular. Elijah would also likely win Baltimore County–he already represents a large swath of it.
Elijah might also challenge hometown heroine Donna Edwards in Prince George’s County. Many local leaders are not close with Rep. Edwards and might lend their support to Rep. Cummings. Regardless, if Reps. Van Hollen and Edwards split the suburban DC vote, Rep. Cummings could emerge as victor based on unified support in the 410 area code.
No question about it, if Elijah enters the race, he causes serious problems for Donna Edwards. She would no longer be able to hope to claim a base of African American voters in Baltimore City and would face serious competition in her own home base of Prince George’s.
At the outset, a split black field would seem to help CVH. But natural areas of expansions outside of Montgomery for Chris from Ellicott City to Towson would be cut off. On the whole, I’d see Elijah’s entry into the race as a win for Chris, but I think he’s a lot more likely to lose to Elijah than Donna.