WASHINGTON — Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin raised nearly $1 million in the second quarter of 2017, a figure likely to quiet speculation he'll do anything other than run for reelection next year.
One of 24 Democratic incumbents up for re-election in 2018, Cardin raised $909,965 from April through June, according to a summary of a campaign finance disclosure reviewed by The Baltimore Sun.
The state's senior senator had nearly $1.7 million on hand.
Cardin's campaign also spent $146,000 -- an indication he is ramping up a campaign apparatus.
Cardin, 73, has not yet said definitively whether he will run for reelection and a third term. The Baltimore native has taken on a more high-profile role in Washington as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has become a vocal critic of President Donald J. Trump's foreign policy and has significantly stepped up his presence on national television.
The latest fundraising figure is a nearly three-fold increase over Cardin's haul in the first quarter of the year, and the number puts his campaign in an almost identical financial position as the equivalent point ahead of his reelection in 2012.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen raised $6.3 million for his successful race last year to fill the seat left open by retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Maryland's Senate seats are generally safe for Democrats, and so most fundraising occurs for the primary.
On the other hand, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's win in 2014 has given Republicans in the state some optimism for midterm election years. So far, only one Republican has announced a campaign: former CIA officer Sam Faddis. Faddis ran for the Republican nomination in Maryland's 5th Congressional District in 2016 and narrowly lost the primary to Mark Arness.
Cardin, elected to the Senate in 2006 to succeed Paul S. Sarbanes, won a nine-way primary in 2012 with more than 74 percent of the vote and won the general that year with 56 percent of the vote.
Forty-five percent of all voters and 53 percent of Democrats said that they approved of the job Cardin is doing, according to a Goucher Poll in February. Roughly one-third of all voters did not have an opinion of Cardin.