Top House Dem Van Hollen Will Run for Senate

Image: Representative Christopher Van Hollen (D
Representative Christopher Van Hollen (D-MD) speaks during forum on health insurance at the Leisure World retirement community August 28, 2009 in Silver Spring, Maryland. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)if / AFP/Getty Images

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Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen says he will run for the Maryland Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Van Hollen is a leading House Democrat who had been long-discussed as a possible successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But in a letter to supporters that was posted on Facebook Wednesday, he announced that he’ll instead be jumping into what will likely be a very competitive primary in the heavily Democratic state.

“I am very much looking forward to the upcoming campaign and a healthy exchange of ideas. In my very first election for Congress I believed that people were tired of politics as usual, and I ran a campaign based on key issues and ideas that matter to our future. The same is true today,” he wrote.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, has announced that he will not seek the post. But other possible candidates include Rep. Donna Edwards, Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, among others.

- Carrie Dann