Precinct 333

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sarbanes Retiring -- Who Will Replace Him?

Another liberal Democrat announces his retirement.

Sen. Paul Sarbanes, a liberal Democrat who is the longest serving senator in Maryland's history, announced Friday that he won't seek a sixth term next year.

"It was not my ambition to stay there until they carried me out," Sarbanes said during an afternoon news conference at his Baltimore office. "It was just the right time. We think we've served long and well and honorably and we're very comfortable with this decision."

Sarbanes, 72, was elected to the Senate in 1976. He said health was not a factor but added he did consider his age in making his decision.

This raises some interesting questions. Will Gov. Robert Ehrlich seek the nomination for Senate. or will he seek reelection? Will Lt. Gov. Michael Steele run for Senate, or will he seek the gubernatorial nod if Erlich runs for Senate? A Steele Senate run could be quite interesting, as scandal-plagued former NAACP Chairman Kwesi Mfume is widely expected to run for Sarbanes' now vacant seat. That prospect of two African Americans battling it out for the US Senate in a high profile race could result in more blacks returning to the GOP fold as they recognize that Steele is more reflective of their values than Mfume.


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