Democrat Del. Dereck E. Davis, the powerful and well-respected chair of the state's House Economic Matters Committee, said Wednesday he plans to run for Congress.
Davis said he will formally announce his candidacy for Maryland's 4th Congressional District in the coming days, but plans to take a "low key approach" to launching his bid for the House seat being left open by Democrat Rep. Donna Edwards.
"It'll be a little while before we really get going," he said. "I'm not sure the electorate is ready for a lot more yet."
He joins one of the state's most closely watched Democratic primary contests, bringing deep ties to the Prince George's County political world but lacking the county-wide name recognition of his rivals Glenn Ivey, a former state's attorney, and Anthony Brown, the former lieutenant governor.
Over his two decades in public office, Davis' connections have become a sought-after political commodity in Prince George's County, which makes up most of the 4th congressional.
In Annapolis, Davis played a critical role in the debate and passage of raising the minimum wage and increasing the state's reliance on renewable energy.
Davis, 47, said he is the only candidate to bring such extensive legislative experience to the race.
"I've been in the forefront of many of the fights, but I also have a good relationships with people on the other side of the aisle," Davis said. "Congress could use someone with my particular skill set."
The five-term delegate from Mitchellville joined the state legislature in 1995 and became a committee chair in 2003. He said his campaign will focus on raising the national minimum wage, tax reform that helps the middle class, energy policy and climate change, as well as creating a path to citizenship for immigrants.
The 4th District includes parts of Anne Arundel County and reliably has elected Democrats to Congress in recent years. No Republicans have announced plans to run for the seat, which Edwards is leaving to campaign for the U.S. Senate.