Cummings: Play Action Senate, Pump Fake Mayor, Run For Reelection?

No political figure in the entire state of Maryland has been the subject of more intense speculation this year than Elijah Cummings. Not even John Delaney.

Cummings was in the Senate race. Then he wasn’t.

He was running for reelection. But then Jamal Bryant got in the race.

And then there was the “Draft Elijah for Mayor” thing last week.

Two pieces of evidence within the past few hours suggest that all the bobbing and weaving was leading to a mundane result: he’s running for reelection. Run up the middle for a gain of three yards. Sigh.

First, there was this tweet from WBAL reporter Jayne Miller:

  
Those three jurisdictions are all part of Cummings’ 7th congressional district.

Then, just a few short minutes ago, John Fritze of the Sun tells us that Jamal Bryant, the guy who just got in the CD7 race a week ago, is now out.

The Rev. Jamal H. Bryant, the influential Baltimore pastor who announced his candidacy for Congress last week, is set to drop out of the contest on Wednesday, multiple sources with knowledge of his decision told The Baltimore Sun.

Bryant, the 44-year-old pastor at the Empowerment Temple in Northwest Baltimore, surprised many by announcing on Sept. 14 that he would seek the Democratic nomination for the 7th Congressional District. That seat is currently held by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.
Cummings, an 11-term congressman, has flirted with running for the U.S. Senate seat that will be left vacant by retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski in 2017. But in recent weeks Cummings has sent signals that he would forgo that race — despite high favorable ratings in statewide polls — and seek reelection to the House seat instead.

It seems clear. But I’ve learned that with Cummings (and Delaney), just when things seem simple, that’s when they’re about to get interesting. So I shall withhold judgment.

Bryant Confirms Congress Run

The Baltimore Sun confirms this morning that Jamal Bryant is running for Congress:

West Baltimore pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant announced Monday he will run for Congress — seeking the seat held by Rep. Elijah Cummings.

In a statement released early Monday, Bryant said, “After prayer, soul searching and long deliberation, I am officially announcing my candidacy for Congress of the United States representing the 7th Congressional District.”
Bryant, pastor at Empowerment Temple, will make a formal announcement at a 10 a.m. event in West Baltimore.
“After the Freddie Gray uprising, the proliferation of police brutality across this nation, the lack of jobs, widespread poverty and hopelessness throughout our urban areas, I decided that leading a successful congregation and building a great church is not enough,” Bryant said in a statement. “I want to contribute to public policy in Washington.”

Cummings hasn’t set forth a plan for 2016 yet, but he is considering a run for Senate. He’s served in Congress since 1996, representing about half of Baltimore and portions of Howard County. A spokesperson for Cummings did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The other shoe – Cummings’ intentions – has yet to drop, but I have to believe it will fall imminently. Bryant is very closely allied with Cummings, and do I doubt that he is engaging in a protest candidacy. Most likely he’s stealing a march on any other candidates by declaring for what will be an open seat before that knowledge becomes public.

 

Jamal Bryant For Congress?

The Reverend Jamal Bryant of Baltimore, pastor of Empowerment Temple, has been rumored to be running for mayor of Baltimore. An announcement to that effect is planned for tomorrow morning in EastWest Baltimore at the Freddie Gray Empowerment Center.

However, I’ve been sent photographs of Reverend Bryant’s signs, and they clearly show that he’s running for Congress.

  

A close ally of Elijah Cummings, I am advised that there is no chance that Bryant is running against Cummings. So what is Cummings planning that frees up Bryant to run in CD7? Senate? Mayor? This is a potentially huge story that bears watching. Something is definitely afoot in Charm City.

Is That A Banner Being Raised?

One of the first Facebook posts to mention that Elijah Cummings had hired a fundraiser was by Calvin Ball. Calvin Ball is a Howard County councilman now in his third term, and is not yet 40 years old.

Back in the spring, when it seemed that Elijah Cummings’ entry into the Senate race was imminent, I compiled a list of potential CD7 candidates who might run for Cummings’ House seat. Ball was high on that list.

Ball has a picture of himself with Congressman Cummings. And four out of the five comments on Ball’s Facebook post urge him to run should Cummings jump into the Senate melee.

  
None of this strikes me as even remotely coincidental. How about you?
Hmmmmmmm. This is turning into a very interesting week.

Group Project!

Assuming – as I do – that Congressman Elijah Cummings is on the verge of declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, who do you see running in CD7? Being a Montgomery County kind of guy, all I’ve got right now is Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. And Maryland’s maps are so appallingly gerrymandered, it’s hard to tell who lives where – not that it matters. So post a comment, send me a text or email, or send up some other kind of smoke signal so I can compile a list of people to watch in that race once it breaks open. And yes, potential candidates, you are allowed to put your own name on the list. Not that I’d ever tell.