March Madness, Maryland Style

It might be topical click bait at this time of year to use the words “March Madness” as it relates to anything political But the open U.S. Senate seat is in fact created political madness here in the State of Maryland.

Up above you see my own bracket of the top 24 Senate candidates, 12 in each party. And below, I’ll tell you a little bit about my reasoning behind them.

Remember, this doesn’t tell you who I want to win. Or who should win. But based on their body of work, fundraising, name ID, and past performance, this is how they might very well be seeded in a competitive tournament.

And remember, this is ultimately just for fun….

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  1. Chris Van Hollen: Van Hollen has the bankroll, the Washington contacts, and the establishment backing to be the favorite.
  2. John Delaney: Delaney scores the second seed based solely on the fact that he can stroke a check to catch up to Van Hollen’s campaign account in a hurry. And keep writing checks all the way through the primary.
  3. Donna Edwards: The Progressive darling of the moment, but has a more limited Rolodex and lower name ID outside of her base. Has the opportunity for advancement.
  4. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: Would probably be ahead of Edwards if we knew she was going to run. No federal account, but lots of contacts with her DNC role. Might have Baltimore to herself.
  5. John Sarbanes: He’ll have any residual name ID left over from his dad, but otherwise starts behind most of the other Congressmen.
  6. Heather Mizeur: At one point, she said it was up or out. Interesting to see her consider Senate race, but she may have already seen the “progressive” torch passed to Edwards.
  7. Elijah Cummings: He’s going to have his hands full with the Lois Lerner investigation for quite a while.
  8. Dutch Ruppersberger: Again, Baltimore name ID heavily influential here. Probably better positioned to run for Governor than for Senator, though.
  9. Ben Jealous: Impressive credentials from having been NAACP President. But voters have no idea who he is.
  10. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: If your last campaign is the butt of jokes 13 years after the fact…..
  11. Ralph Jaffee: and…..
  12. Lih Young: You can’t say they give up easily.


  1. Andy Harris: If he runs, he’s a frontrunner, and given his Washington contacts and experience, he would probably be the favorite above any other candidate.
  2. Dan Bongino: What can we say about Dan that hasn’t already been said?
  3. Laura Neuman: You could say that Bongino and Neuman are on par (in fact, I did), but Neuman gets the lower seed based on not having an established federal account and fewer national contacts, both of which she could quickly overcome.
  4. Wild-Card: There’s a such a steep drop off between the top 3 and the rest of the field, and we have absolutely no idea who else may come out of the woodwork to run. So this is basically a placeholder.
  5. John Bolton: Almost certainly more likely to run for President than for Senate, but he’s a Marylander and he would be an intriguing candidate.
  6. Kathy Szeliga: The Minority Whip’s name has been thrown out as a potential candidate. I think she’s more likely to run for Congress if Ruppersberger were to jump in the Senate race. Lower name ID than among the top tier.
  7. Richard Douglas: Took a pass on the AG race in 2014. Had the Senate primary been a week later, he might have been the nominee in 2012. Not sure if he’s even strongly considering it.
  8. Jim Rutledge: Also a second-place finisher, back in 2010. He had announced he was going to run for Harford County Council, but then withdrew. Also not sure if he’s considering a run, but he has lots of folks who are encouraging him to do so.
  9. Kendel Ehrlich: The national people keep throwing this name out there. As we talked about on Red Maryland Radio last week, if she was going to seriously seek public office you have to imagine she would have done so by now.
  10. Chrys Kefalas: He’s leaving the door open yes, but I have no idea what constituency he finds in the primary, especially if other folks jump in the race. Had considered a run for AG back in 2014, but passed.
  11. Charles Lollar: Probably too high of a seed, but his Facebook page and website have sprung back to life which makes me think he’s going to try to run for something else despite his political career basically being over.
  12. Robert Broadus: Not sure if he’s considering running again. Got a lot of public play for defending Michael Peroutka last year.

Sure, this doesn’t mean very much, but it certainly whets the appetite of political junkies who are going to get the opportunity to see a competitive election up close next year,

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