Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) swiftly endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen to be the next U.S. senator from Maryland, wasting little time as Democrats hope to lock up the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
“I enthusiastically endorse Chris Van Hollen for the United States Senate,” Reid said in a statement Friday. “Not only would Chris Van Hollen be the best and most effective person for the job, I have no doubt that he is in the best and strongest position to make sure that this Senate seat remains in Democratic hands in a State that just elected a Republican Governor.”
The surprisingly quick announcement comes within two days of Van Hollen announcing his intention to run for Senate. Reid is apparently aiming to clear the field and avert a contentious Democratic primary as the party sets its sights on winning back the majority in 2016.
In a statement moments later, Van Hollen said he’s “honored to receive the endorsement of Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic Leader of the Senate. He is a fighter for more jobs with better wages, for equality, and for Social Security and Medicare. I greatly appreciate his support and confidence.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee isn’t endorsing anyone just yet.
“The DSCC remains excited about the deep bench of Democrats in Maryland and are confident we will hold this seat,” Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the DSCC, told TPM.
This article has been updated.