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RETIREMENT WATCH

Cardin raises just $15,000 in Q1, raising questions about future in Senate 

Cardin had told reporters he would announce his plans at the end of March, but has not yet done so

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) presides over a hearing about the recent rise in antisemitism and its threat to democracy in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on December 13, 2022, in Washington, DC.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) raised just over $15,000 in the first quarter of 2023 — a pittance for a Senate candidate and a possible signal that he plans to retire rather than running for reelection in 2024.

The 79-year-old Cardin has served in the Senate since 2007, having previously served in the House from 1978 to 2007. He has not yet formally announced his plans for 2024, although he told reporters earlier this year that he would make them public by the end of March. He also still had nearly $1 million in cash on hand at the close of the quarter.

The longtime Maryland senator had hinted, however, that he would run for reelection, quipping that potential successors who had begun raising money for possible campaigns “can turn it over to me, can’t they?”

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Rep. David Trone (D-MD) are seen as potential candidates for the seat should Cardin decide to retire.

Cardin, a mainstream Democrat and the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, has established himself as a heavyweight in the foreign policy area, particularly as a supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship and a critic of the targeting of Israel by international organizations. He served from April 2015 to February 2018 as the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In 2017, Cardin introduced legislation — controversial among some Democrats — that would have barred U.S. citizens from supporting boycotts against Israel and its settlements. He also sponsored legislation criticizing the United Nations in response to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 criticizing Israeli settlements; the Obama administration memorably abstained from vetoing that resolution, allowing it to pass.

He was among the small number of Democrats who voted against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, and has since supported increasing sanctions on the regime and been critical of the Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the agreement.

He has also been outspoken against antisemitism, most recently in his role as the chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

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