Fri, Mar 6, 2015
Washington, District Of Columbia
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who has served in Congress longer than any woman in history, announced at a news conference Monday that she is retiring from the Senate after five terms in office.
Mikulski, was the first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee, a post she had to give up this year when the Democrats lost control of the Senate. A social worker turned politician, she has been a forceful presence on many pieces of legislation, passionately liberal on certain issues but also committed to working closely with Republicans.
The Baltimore native represented Maryland in the House of Representatives for 10 years, starting in 1977. She was first elected to the Senate in 1986. She began her political career on the Baltimore City Council, where she spent five years before coming to Congress. Mikulski has scheduled a news conference today at the Inn at Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point. Three people familiar with her plans -- a close friend in Maryland, a senior Democratic Party official and a Senate staffer – said she would announce at the event that she would step down at the end of 2016 and not seek another term.
Mikulski’s expected announcement will surely set off a round of speculation as to who might seek to replace her as the 2016 election cycle begins to heat up. Sources are also reporting that several members of the Maryland delegation will quickly explore jumping into the race soon after Mikulski’s announcement including Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Donna Edwards, Elijah Cummings and Rep. John Sarbanes, whose father also served in the Senate. It will also be interesting to see how this might affect the nascent presidential campaign of former Gov. Martin O'Malley. Just this past weekend in a South Carolina ‘campaign’ speech, he took a couple of veiled swipes at Hillary Clinton, all while his current polling numbers among Iowa Democrats, are at the very bottom of expected candidate rankings.
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