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AFL-CIO will sit out Maryland Senate race

Rep. Donna F. Edwards , right has accused Rep. Chris Van Hollen of being open to cutting Social Security benefits . The Democrats are both running for Senate.
Rep. Donna F. Edwards , right has accused Rep. Chris Van Hollen of being open to cutting Social Security benefits . The Democrats are both running for Senate. (Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland AFL-CIO, among the most politically active unions in the state, has decided against endorsing a candidate in the election to replace Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the group's president said Tuesday.

Democratic Reps. Donna Edwards of Prince George's County and Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County both sought the group's backing.

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"They're both good candidates and their responses to [our] questionnaire was pretty much the same," said Fred Mason, president of the Maryland-DC AFL-CIO. "An endorsement would have required a two-third majority, and it simply was not there."

The decision is likely a bigger blow to Edwards, who will have to rely more on help from outside groups to make up a significant fundraising gap. That said, neither Edwards nor Van Hollen won the AFL-CIO nod in their first runs for Congress.

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Mason noted that AFL-CIO local unions are free to endorse. Both candidates are expected to attend a convention hosted by the union this weekend, he said.

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