Rep. Donna Edwards Wants Barbara Mikulski's Seat & She'd Be A Great Fit For It

So, who will ultimately claim the former Senate seat of outgoing Maryland icon Barbara Mikulski? That's still up in the air Tuesday; two names are now officially in the mix. The first, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, is undoubtedly the safe bet — he's already secured the backing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and as USA Today notes, he's already got $1.7 million to mount a campaign. But there ought to be another option on the ballot, and she just announced her candidacy — Rep. Donna Edwards will run for Barbara Mikulski's Senate seat.

So, this raises some obvious questions. Firstly, who is Edwards, and what kind of odds does she face? First, some background: First elected to the House in 2008, the 56-year-old Edwards is a likable left-wing politician, within Maryland politics she's also a historic trailblazer. Until her first victory, Maryland had never elected a black woman to serve in Congress, as The Washington Post notes. And while her qualifications and liberal bonafides are more or less all in order — this year she's already voted against the Keystone XL pipeline twice, as well as opposing the GOP's most recent, damn near ritualistic anti-abortion bill. In short, she's a person you could probably get excited about serving in the Senate.

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That's not to say that Van Hollen is a slouch — you might feel one way or the other about the race, and certainly, the people who'll have the most insight into this are likely those who've lived in either of their districts. But hopefully it doesn't get too acrimonious — the Democratic Senate primary looks to be a duel between their progressive records, and as anybody who's followed intra-party politics knows, these things can get bitter and self-destructive in a hurry.

And considering what a veritable Democratic stronghold Maryland is — Mikulski never finished below 60 percent in any of her five victorious Senate races — a scorched-earth primary season might be the GOP's best hope to even make this interesting.

Donna Edwards on YouTube

Edwards launched her Senate campaign via the two-minute announcement video above, highlighting a particular passion early in her political career — protecting public access to Maryland's National Harbor, a beautiful and iconic waterfront along the Potomac River. And after the announcement, it's fair to say there's been some excitement among Democrats and liberals on social media. Not just because of the prospect of an exciting primary campaign, but because of who she'd be replacing, as well.

Not to slight Van Hollen in this, but there's something that feels undeniably more appropriate about a highly qualified woman stepping into Mikulski's shoes — she was indisputably one of the most important women in modern American politics, and the longest-serving woman in Senate history. Given the scale of her accomplishments, it seems only right that Edwards will have to prove her mettle in a tough race — here's hoping that all of America gets to know her real soon.

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