U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin vowed to take on the tea party as he announced his re-election plans Monday.
"We have to stand up against the people who want to take this country back," Cardin (D) said in a telephone interview Monday after a breakfast meeting at the in Rockville. "My top priority is to create more jobs."
His tea party foes have said taxes and government regulation have prevented job growth.
"Clean air and clean water help grow our economy," Cardin said. "It's a false dilemma to say you can't have a good economy and clean environment."
He said he supported reduced government spending but the county needed enough revenue "to pay our bills."
Cardin is seeking his second term in the Senate. He previously served in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007. Before that, he served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1967 to 1987. The last eight of those years as the Speaker of House.
"I think that our country is facing some tremendous challenges and the Obama economy is really a critical point," said Justin Ready, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party. "And while Ben Cardin is certainly known to be a nice and decent man, we don't need a man who's been in office since 1967. ... We believe there's time for new leadership in the U.S. Senate for Maryland."
Cardin formally announced his re-election campaign Sunday at the Museum of Industry in Baltimore. He said he was running on his record of education, environment and health care.
To win his Senate seat in 2006, Cardin spent $8 million or $9 million, he said. He now has about $2.3 million cash on hand, according to Federal Elections Commission records.
Five Democrats and five Republicans have also filed to run for U.S. senator. Among his Republican opponents is of College Park.