Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said Tuesday he will run for reelection rather than seek the Democratic nomination for Senate in Maryland, all but assuring his party will not have a Baltimore-based candidate in the race for Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's seat next year.
Ruppersberger, a Baltimore County lawmaker and member of the House Appropriations Committee, has long flirted with a statewide run for office -- including for governor last year and, more recently, Senate. But Ruppersberger said in a statement Tuesday that he could be more effective in the House.
"After thoughtful and prayerful consideration, I have decided that I can best serve the state and my district in the House of Representatives if voters again give me that opportunity," the congressman said in a statement. "I look forward to working with our next Senator to ensure the voice of the Baltimore region continues to be heard loud and clear in our nation's capital."
The only other well-known Baltimore-based Democrat considering a Senate campaign is Rep. Elijah E. Cummings. Cummings, officially, says he is still mulling a run -- a position he reiterated to The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday -- but he has repeatedly sent signals that he, too, will run for reelection instead of Senate.
Both Democrats have the potential to shake up the field running for the Democratic nomination, which includes Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County and Donna Edwards of Prince George's County.
Maryland last elected a senator from the Washington suburbs in 1913.
Ruppersberger had conducted a statewide poll earlier this year, a sign some interpreted as the beginning of his campaign. The congressman has said that his support is strong, especially in the Baltimore media market, but he has not discussed specifics.
Two Baltimore-area Republicans are considering the race: State Del. Kathy Szeliga and Chrys Kefalas, a former aide to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Another Republican candidate, Richard Douglas, lives in College Park.