Cummings Not Going Quietly 

I’d pretty much put the thought out of my mind for good, but like Lucy with the football, Elijah Cummings really, really wants to tempt me back into the conversation. So here you go, but as for me, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) insisted Wednesday that he could still run for the U.S. Senate, with the filing deadline less than a month away.

“I have it circled — believe me,” Cummings said in an interview with Baltimore’s WYPR, referring to the Feb. 3 deadline to file nomination papers in the Democratic primary. Laughing, he added, “My wife reminds me every day.”
Even a very late-moving Cummings candidacy would shake up a race that at the moment features two candidates from the D.C. suburbs.
Polls have consistently shown that Cummings would lead in a race against Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen, both of whom have been campaigning for months to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D). A Baltimore Sun poll conducted after Van Hollen began a major ad blitz in Baltimore found that 40 percent of Democratic primary voters still would choose Cummings. Van Hollen’s congressional district is based in Montgomery County, while Edwards represents Prince George’s County and part of Anne Arundel County.

He’s got 27 days to file, and 98 days – 14 weeks – until early voting starts. How he builds a statewide campaign organization from scratch, pays for it and engages in serious GOTV in that short time is not explained.

Field Trip To Charm City [UPDATED]

Couple of interesting events will compel me to leave the Cheetos-encrusted Maryland Scramble nerve center today for a road trip to Baltimore. This afternoon, International Man of Mystery Elijah Cummings will host an event focusing on our court system’s failure to prevent the legal theft of structured settlements from mentally impaired residents by financial companies. Also present at the University of Baltimore Law School event, by happy coincidence or otherwise, will be Chris Van Hollen and Jamie Raskin, which should make for some interesting questions, if nothing else.

Tonight there is a big Democratic Party event at the American Visionary Art Museum to celebrate the 30 years of Barbara Mikulski’s term as senator. Tickets for the event are a very reasonable $50 and can be purchased here.

So I pretty much to get to see a whole bunch of candidates and poobahs over the next several hours, and only pay $50 plus cheap gas for the privilege. Sounds like a good deal to me.

[UPDATE]: Cummings event postponed. Still going to the Mikulski tribute tonight.

Senate Race: State Of Play

Josh Hicks in the Post has a good summary of the state of play in the Senate race, both between the two current candidates and what might transpire if Elijah Cummings gets into the race.

Ahead in the polls but lagging badly in fundraising, Rep. Donna F. Edwards this month embarked on a tour of Maryland colleges and senior centers to woo the state’s youngest and oldest voters.

Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Edwards’s opponent for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) has tapped into his sizable war chest to launch television ads in Baltimore, where he is not well known and does not have a strong base of support.

Both candidates have ample opportunity to sway the Democratic electorate before the April 26 primary, with a recent Washington Post-University of Maryland poll showing 25 percent of self-identified Democrats on the fence or unsatisfied with the choices.

Van Hollen, a seven-term congressman from Montgomery County, has more than 10 times as much money in his campaign fund as Edwards, who reported $640,000 in fundraising for the third quarter.

But Edwards, a four-term incumbent from Prince George’s County, had a 10-point lead over Van Hollen in a head-to-head competition, according to the Post-U.Md. poll.

The wild card in the contest is 10-term Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who is considering a run for Mikulski’s seat. The poll showed him leading Edwards and Van Hollen by 13 points in a three-way race.

Go read the rest. You’ll feel smarter after you do.

Cummings At The Crossroads

I usually try to write my own headlines, but in this case the Hill got it precisely right, so I’m stealing it. It’s time for Elijah Cummings to fish or cut bait.

Rep. Elijah Cummings is at a political crossroads.

The 64-year-old Maryland Democrat is mulling whether to run for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski who will not seek reelection in 2016 after nearly 30 years in office.
The rare open Maryland Senate seat could be Cummings’ last chance to move to the upper chamber. If he were to enter the race, early polling shows that he’d be the favorite.

Cummings has said an announcement would come at some point after Thursday’s Benghazi committee hearing. Allies say he has refused to discuss his political future in the weeks leading up to the event.
On Friday, running on fumes after the marathon session, a worn-out Cummings said he wasn’t ready yet to address the matter.

“I’m not answering anything about the Senate run right now,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I’m thoroughly exhausted from Benghazi — thoroughly — and I want to spend some time with my wife.”
Cummings’ performance as Hillary Clinton’s fiercest defender at the Benghazi hearing has intensified speculation over his future.

Read the rest. It’s a good summary of the arguments for and against a Cummings run. My information hasn’t changed, and based on his stellar performance Thursday, I believe he’s going to run. But a free piece of advice – don’t spend too long talking to your wife, Congressman, or the glow from Thursday will be gone before you decide.

Sunday Smackdown

Meet the Press on Sunday will have Maryland’s own Elijah Cummings, fresh off his triumphant performance yesterday, and Trey Gowdy, chair of the Benghazi committee. I might actually break my rule and watch MTP. What I’d really be hoping to see is Cummings and Gowdy teaming up to punch that bored smirk off Chuck Todd’s face. Now THAT would be some bipartisanship I could get behind.

Cummings: We’ve Been Here Before

Given the history, I feel like this:

But maybe this time he won’t pull the football away from me. So here goes:

Multiple credible sources are reporting to Maryland Scramble that Congressman Elijah Cummings will announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate soon after Thursday’s Benghazi committee appearance by Hillary Clinton.

I really hope I don’t end up flat on my back on this one. But I’m like Charlie Brown – I’m confident that this time I’m gonna kick that football to the moon!

WP Poll: Cummings Leads – If He Runs

Elijah Cummings continues to lead a Senate primary race he’s shown no inclination to join, says the Washington Post in new poll data announced today.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) would become the immediate front-runner if he entered the race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, holding a double-digit lead over Democratic primary contenders Rep. Donna Edwards and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, according to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Cummings has the support of 33 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, compared to 20 percent each for Edwards and Van Hollen.

If Cummings doesn’t run, the poll shows Donna Edwards with a ten point lead. But . . .

Should Cummings decide not to run, it will be good news for Edwards, the Post-U.Md. poll found. In a two-way race, Edwards leads Van Hollen, 38 percent to 28 percent.

But polling data also shows the potential for shifts in the race. Six months before the April 26 primary, a quarter of the electorate is undecided or dissatisfied with their choices — and that number swells to one-third if Cummings is not in the race.

Van Hollen’s support in the race improves among those most likely to vote.

But the survey also finds evidence that Van Hollen’s support may be more resilient in what’s expected to be a low turnout contest. Van Hollen, a former state legislator, performs better among Democrats ages 65 and older and among those who say they voted in the 2014 midterm elections — groups that are more likely to cast ballots in a primary. In the state’s last primary election for Senate, in 2012, only 17 percent of registered Democrats cast ballots.

Considering the absolute lack of evidence that Cummings intends to enter the race, and the fact that he’d start with a 4-1 fundraising deficit to Van Hollen, I have to wonder why the media is so interested in spending money on a poll that includes Cummings.

But there’s no such thing as a poll not worth reading. After the orgy of fundraising data released yesterday (one has to assume that Donna Edwards, the one candidate in all the races we didn’t hear from, had another unfavorable quarter of fundraising results), any quantitative data is welcome, even if it may end up having little relationship to the outcome of the actual race between actual candidates for the votes of actual voters.

Cummings Still Cogitating

Man, I thought I was a tease. Elijah Cummings says he’s still thinking about the Senate race, but he won’t be prepared to tell us anything until after Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the House Benghazi Benghazi! BENGHAZI!!!!! committee. Which is more than two weeks away.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) will not announce whether or not he is running for Senate until after Hillary Clinton testifies before a House panel about the Benghazi attacks.

In an interview Monday, the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi said he wanted to “get this behind me” before making a public decision.

Cummings said he wanted to avoid any accusations that he was using the controversial committee to further his own political ambitions.

“That’s one of the main reasons I have not put out a decision,” he said. “I’m going to get this behind me and then I’m going to go from there.”

Clinton is scheduled to testify before the panel on Oct. 22.

All due respect, Congressman, but if you’re NOT running – which all indications suggest is the case – saying so now would put an end to  the “playing politics” issue too. And leaving it out there suggests you’re milking it no matter the ultimate conclusion. So . . . I dunno. My head suddenly hurts again.