Benjamin Louis "Ben" Cardin (born October 5, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. Before his election to the Senate, Cardin was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Maryland's 3rd congressional district from 1987 to 2007.
Cardin was elected to succeed Paul Sarbanes in the 2006 U.S. Senate election, defeating Republican challenger Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele by a margin of 54%-44%.
Cardin was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Meyer (1907–2005) and Dora (née Green) Cardin. The family name was originally Kardonsky before it was changed to Cardin by Cardin's paternal grandparents, Russian Jewish immigrants. His grandfather operated a neighborhood grocery store that later turned into a wholesale food distribution company. His father served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1935 to 1937, and later sat on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore City from 1961 to 1977.