U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin is throwing his support behind state Sen. Sarah Elfreth’s campaign to represent Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.

Cardin visited Elfreth in Annapolis Monday as early in-person voting is underway and to tour some local buildings hardest hit by flooding. The Democrats have a history of partnering to help businesses and nonprofits recover from damages caused by extreme weather events.

Standing beside her at Annapolis City Dock, Cardin made a case to voters that Elfreth is “ready for the job.”

“She has all that you would want in someone to represent you in Congress,” he said, stopping short of saying endorsement.

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Cardin said Elfreth has been “effective” in the Maryland legislature and “knows how to work with the political system to get things accomplished.”

His accolades come at the tail end of what has become a contentious primary. Elfreth is one of 22 candidates in the race, which includes former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn and state Sen. Clarence Lam of Howard County. The district covers all of Howard County, a sliver of Carroll County and northern and central Anne Arundel County.

As the politicians stood in a part of downtown Annapolis known to flood during storms, Elfreth remarked on the extreme weather, tornadoes and floods, she’s witnessed in her community seen since taking office in 2019. At times, she recalled the water rising more than 5 feet above sea level.

Along the way, the senators stopped to talk with Ryan Lamy, owner of Pip’s Dock Street Dogs, whose business closed for more than a month after the January flood. Then they continued on to Eastport’s Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park. CEO and President Alice Estrada said the first phone call she got after the January flood was from Elfreth. The state senator was critical in directing them to resources, she said.

Elfreth said she’s “looked up to Cardin since before I even ran,” and that his continuing his work protecting the Chesapeake Bay was influential in her decision to run for Congress.

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“I wanted to make sure whoever represented this district could effectively carry that mantle,” she said.

In-person early voting ends on May 9. Primary election day is May 14.

Brenda Wintrode covers state government, agencies and politics. Before joining The Baltimore Banner, Wintrode wrote an award winning series of long form investigations for Wisconsin Watch.

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