ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland Republicans at a recent state convention were almost giddy with excitement about the possibility of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele becoming their candidate next year for the U.S. Senate.Read the article here.
Buttons proclaiming "I Like Mike. Senate" adorned the shirts, coats and blouses of many Republican activists. The convention earlier this month buzzed with talk of Mr. Steele's speech the previous evening at the Montgomery County Lincoln Day dinner and how he electrified the crowd.
If Mr. Steele enters the race, he will attract a lot of national attention and money to a state usually overlooked by both parties because of the Democrats' dominance. State Republican leaders envision the party's national stars, such as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and maybe even President Bush, coming to campaign.
Money would not be a problem, party leaders say. Republican National Committee member Louis M. Pope recently predicted Mr. Steele would have $15 million to $18 million to spend on the campaign.
I have seen Lt. Gov. Steele speak, and he is incredibly impressive. I was talking recently to a prominent Democrat and his wife, both close friends of Ben Cardin, and they said that Steele was the only Republican who scared them -- simply because he such an effective speaker and campaigner. If he decides to run for the Senate he could shake things up mightily.
I'm still hoping for a Mfume-Steele contest, but it looks increasingly as though the Democrats will run Cardin. Even so, if Steele declares, it will be one hell of a race.