Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young says popular Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings has told him he will not be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Mikulski.
Young and several other black Charm City elected officials on Monday endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen as the Democrat to replace the retiring Mikulski, the Baltimore Sun reports
Baltimore is Cummings' home base.
"I personally spoke to the congressman, and he told me he was not running," Young said at a press conference in reference to Cummings, the Sun reports.
Cummings aides said the 11-term congressman has not yet made a decision on a Senate run.
A Washington Post-University of Maryland Poll
in October found Cummings "would become the immediate front-runner" if he did choose to enter the race.
Cummings was supported by 33 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, compared with 20 percent each for Rep. Donna F. Edwards and Van Hollen, poll results showed.
A two-way race without Cummings showed Edwards leading Van Hollen 38-28 percent.
Despite the fact that either Edwards or Cummings if elected would become the first black senator in Maryland's history, the Baltimore politicians announced their support for the white Van Hollen.
"Race is important. Having an African American in the United States is important," state senator Nathaniel J. McFadden said, the Sun reports. "But if you look at all of the issues, and the needs of the Baltimore region ... when it comes to issues that affect African Americans, and people of need, Chris has been there. His record is equal in those terms to what Ms. Edwards has done."
Cummings has drawn national attention this year as the ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Benghazi. He has been a constant foil to chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy as the South Carolina Republican led the committee's investigation of leading Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's actions as secretary of state during the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in the Libyan city.
Cummings repeatedly accused Republicans on the committee of pursuing a partisan witch hunt against Clinton.
"I wanted to believe that conclusions were not made before we started (this investigation)," Cummings said in October. "I think this is all to disrupt, destroy the campaign of Hillary Clinton
. It was a painful conclusion. It took me a long time to get there."
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