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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend endorses Chris Van Hollen

Former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat left open by the retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, has decided instead to endorse Rep. Chris Van Hollen for the position and co-chair his campaign.

""I've known Chris Van Hollen for a long time — and to know Chris is to know that he puts the people of Maryland first," Townsend said in a statement Monday. "He doesn't just say the right thing — he has a clear track record of achievement."

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Van Hollen, a Montgomery County Democrat, and Rep. Donna F. Edwards, a Prince George's County Democrat, are they only declared candidates for the seat.

Townsend served as lieutenant governor from 1995 to 2003. She was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2002, but lost to Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Townsend cited Van Hollen's "plan to improve the tax code so it rewards retirement savings, as well as his work to strengthen Social Security and protect Medicare," and his advocacy for schools, jobs and equal pay and access for women.

Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002 after defeating Townsend's cousin Mark Shriver in a Democratic primary.

Townsend joins former Maryland Democratic Chairwoman Yvette Lewis in co-chairing Van Hollen's campaign.

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