Michael Steele Mulling Run for Mikulski's Senate Seat

Michael Steele Mulling Run for Mikulski's Senate Seat
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Michael Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor and onetime chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Friday he is considering entering the open-seat Maryland Senate race in 2016.

In 2006, Democrat Ben Cardin defeated Steele in a Senate contest.

Steele, speaking to students at The Washington Center in Washington, D.C., during a panel discussion about the 2016 presidential race, said he is weighing whether to try to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

He said he would likely decide by this fall whether to run in a heavily blue state, whose voters surprised analysts and pollsters in November by electing as governor Republican businessman Larry Hogan in a race against Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Others already in the Senate contest include Democrats Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards. Rep. Elijah Cummings, also a Democrat, says he is testing the waters before making a decision.

Steele, who is a paid political analyst for MSNBC, told RCP the approximately $20 million a candidate would need for the Senate race, plus the surge in Democratic turnout expected in Maryland in a presidential cycle, are among factors that may discourage his candidacy.

“It was $9 million in my last race,” he said, comparing the growth in fundraising demands in the past decade.

Alexis Simendinger covers the White House for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at asimendinger@realclearpolitics.com.  Follow her on Twitter @ASimendinger.

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