Having defeated Kweisi Mfume in Maryland's Democratic senatorial primary race Representative Ben Cardin will now run against Lt. Gov. Michael Steele in November for the seat being vacated by retiring Paul Sarbanes.
There are some interesting dynamics at play here. Polls show Cardin leading Steele 49.4% to 40.2%, but Steele's holding a couple of political aces. Steele is a black Republican and Cardin is a white Democrat. It's unclear how enthusiastically the traditional African-American base will greet a Cardin candidacy. Black Democrats may not vote for Steele, but many of them may not wish to vote against him, either, especially if doing so means voting for a white candidate. Moreover, a statewide survey of black voters commissioned by the Maryland Democratic Party showed that 44 percent were open to a Steele candidacy.
In other words, a lot of black voters may either vote for Steele or simply decide to sit out the election. Either result would be very bad news for Cardin who probably has no chance to win without a strong African American turnout on his behalf.
Add to this the fact that Steele has about double the cash on hand that Cardin does and it looks as though Steele has a pretty good shot at winning the seat.