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David Trone loses to Angela Alsobrooks

Rep. David Trone, one of the richest members of Congress, spent more than $60 million of his own fortune trying to win a Democratic Senate primary. The Associated Press called the election of its competitor.

With nearly 40% of all votes, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is expected to have defeated Trone in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Maryland, according to Headquarters of the decision office. Alsobrooks will now face former Gov. Larry Hogan, who easily won the Republican primary, in the November general election.

Hogan is a major GOP recruit whose candidacy made the Maryland contest one of the most watched races heading into November.

Trone, a three-term House Democrat, made millions before entering politics by co-founding Total Wine & More, the nation’s largest privately held wine retailer. In a striking speech to voters, he argued that his vast wealth was an asset to the Democratic Party and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer cannot afford to lose his Senate seat if he wants to maintain the party’s slim majority in the House. Trone’s view was that if the party had to spend money defending Maryland, it would have less available in other close races.

“We’re going to continue to spend whatever it takes to win,” Trone told reporters last week, according to CNN. “It will give them a lot more flexibility to spend money elsewhere. And I’m sure that will please Leader Schumer.”

When Alsobrooks entered the Senate race, she touted her work as a domestic violence prosecutor and her experience leading the state’s second-most populous jurisdiction to make her case for candidacy. As county executive, she immersed herself in the nuts and bolts of local government and focused heavily on public safety, an issue Republicans have sought to hammer Democrats on in recent cycles.

And Alsobrooks — who was backed by Democratic heavyweights in Maryland, including Gov. Wes Moore, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and veteran Rep. Steny Hoyer — had long made clear that she felt Trone’s financial advantage would not define not the campaign in the eyes of voters.

“I think Marylanders are really savvy,” Alsobrooks told Washington-area CBS affiliate WUSA9 in a March interview. “And they recognize that you shouldn’t be able to buy a Senate seat.”

The race between the two Democrats has heated up in the last few days. Since Trone and Alsobrooks agreed on most policy areas, the competition has become a proxy battle for the party’s identity and future. Alsobrooks leaned into her historic candidacy, a call underscored by the fact that the Senate could soon find itself without a Black woman again. Despite a 10-member congressional delegation, Maryland currently has no women representing the state in either chamber.

Alsobrooks’ allies also tried to blunt Trone’s enormous financial advantage by pointing out that the Trone company had donated to Republicans who supported restricting abortion access. Trone, who supports abortion rights, responded by pointing out that he left Total Wine’s parent company in 2015 and received a 100% rating from the rights organization on abortion, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Americas).

Trone was forced to launch one of the most scathing attacks of his campaign.

According to the Washington Post, Trone edited a surrogate mother’s comment on a recent ad that suggested that Alsobrooks would need “training wheels” in the Senate.

Democrats currently control the Senate by a narrow 51-49 margin, and with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin retiring at the end of his term, Republicans are all but assured of winning his seat.

Republicans view Montana and Ohio as their top Democratic targets in the Senate this year, while also looking to compete in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

But Hogan’s candidacy in Maryland – in one of the most optimistic states in the country – gives them hope where they otherwise would not have had a leading candidate.


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