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Mikulski reiterates plan to stay 'studiously neutral' in Senate race

Mikulski reiterates plan to stay 'studiously neutral' in Senate race
Van Hollen mailer featuring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski on Friday reiterated her desire to stay "studiously neutral" in the Democratic primary race for her seat and said she is grateful that voters have such "fine choices" in the contest.

Mikulski issued the brief statement in response to questions from reporters about a mailed advertisement Rep. Chris Van Hollen distributed that carries the words "Maryland's women elected leaders overwhelmingly support one candidate to carry on the legacy of Senator Barbara Mikulski" under a full-page photograph of the state's senior senator.

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The mailer did not directly claim Mikulski's endorsement, and such side-by-side pictures are relatively common in candidate mailings. Former Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, for instance, has sent a mailing in his campaign for Maryland's 4th Congressional District that prominently displays a photo of him with President Barack Obama. The president has not endorsed in that race, and generally does not engage in primaries.

Mikulski announced last March that she would not seek a sixth term, setting off a competitive race between Van Hollen and Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the Democratic nomination. She has not endorsed in the contest, and there has been no indication of her playing a role behind the scenes for either candidate.

"Marylanders are very fortunate to have strong democratic candidates to choose from in the upcoming primary for the Senate seat I am vacating," Mikulski said in the statement. "I know all the competitors and have sought to stay studiously neutral. I am so grateful the citizens of [Maryland]  have such fine choices."

The mailer itself was first reported by the politics blog Maryland Scramble.

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