Senator Barbara Mikulski is retiring. That opens up a Senate seat in deep blue Maryland. I understand Ben Carson wants the brass ring of the Oval Office. I have deep and abiding respect for Dr. Carson, but I think that’s a long shot. But what about Mikulski’s seat? Yes, Maryland is a deep-blue state. But it also elected a Republican for governor last year, shocking pretty much everyone. Meanwhile, Carson is a huge figure in Maryland, with deep ties to the community. Carson’s profile in the African-American community, particularly in Baltimore, is huge. He’s been the inspiring guest speaker at local Baltimore high schools for decades.
If he ran, I doubt he would get a majority of the black vote in Maryland. But I also suspect he’d do quite well in that regard. Certainly many black voters might just opt to stay home rather than vote against him. And I’d expect Carson to do fantastically well in western Maryland and other more conservative parts of the state. He could raise money nationally (maybe even roll over his presidential campaign money?), not just on his star status but also on the promise of flipping a safe Democratic seat in what will be a tough election year for Republicans. Virtually every Republican star in the country would happily campaign for him.
I’m not trying to get Carson out of the race for president. By all means, there’s a little time for him to continue testing the waters. The filing deadline in Maryland is January of 2016. But if the outlook for the Oval Office looks bleak, he could do a great service to his party and his country by looking toward a more winnable race. If a Republican wins in 2016, there’s going to be a lot of work to do replacing Obamacare. Under those circumstances, it would be good to have another doctor in the house or, in this case, the Senate.