Five takeaways from Maryland's U.S. Senate debate

Maryland Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin faced off Sunday in the only debate of the race against Republican Tony Campbell and independent Neal Simon. (Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun video

Maryland Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin faced off Sunday in the only debate of the race against Republican Tony Campbell and independent Neal Simon.

The debate will be broadcast Saturday on WBFF-TV at 5 p.m. and can be seen at


Here are some of the takeaways:

1. The heavily favored Cardin absorbed complaints from his challengers without returning fire. Instead, he focused his criticism on President Donald Trump — a safe strategy in a state where Trump’s poll numbers are dismal.

2. Conservatives can’t complain that their candidate is a RINO — Republican in Name Only. Campbell presented himself as a strong Trump supporter.

3. Anyone who watched the debate now knows that Cardin has held public office for 52 years. Simon shared that statistic several times with viewers.

4. Cardin came prepared for Simon’s contention that he is to blame for partisan rancor in Washington. The incumbent was able to rattle off a series of issues on which he has worked with Republican senators.

5. For all the discussion of divisiveness in Washington, the debate was civil. None of the candidates interrupted another nor raised his voice. Handshakes all around and pats on the back concluded the event.