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Md. Senate: Steele's In

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) will formally announce his campaign for the Senate next Tuesday, a major recruiting success for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.


Can Michael Steele break the Democrats' lock on Maryland's two Senate seats? (File photo)

Steele will make the announcement at Prince George's Community College at noon on Oct. 25. He joins a slew of Democrats already running to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), including Rep. Ben Cardin, who appears to be the frontrunner, and former representative Kweisi Mfume.

Despite Maryland's clear Democratic tilt (Sen. John Kerry won the state by 13 percent in 2004), Republicans believe a unique set of factors give Steele a real opportunity.

First, he is African American in a state that is 28 percent black, according to the 2000 census. Second, Steele has served in statewide office since 2002 when he and Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) captured the governor's mansion. Third, Republicans believe Democrats made a major error earlier this year when two staffers at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee illegally accessed Steele's credit report. The FBI and U.S. Attorney's office are currently looking into the matter.

For all intents and purposes, Steele has been running for several months. From July 1 to Sept. 30 he raised $418,000 and has a total of $350,000 cash on hand.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 19, 2005; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Next: Pa. Senate: Is It Curtains for Santorum?

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