Sun. May 19th, 2024

A Democratic power broker makes its move in a big Senate race. Is it too late?

By 37ci3 May9,2024

For months, Democratic Rep. David Trone has covered Maryland airwaves with ads for his Senate campaign. Now, as the initial shoot wraps up, Trone is facing some backlash in a new ad campaign from a group backing her primary challenger, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

The question for Alsobrooks is whether the new effort will make a difference.

Vote Women, a super PAC affiliated with EMILY’s List that supports female Democrats who advocate for abortion rights! He lashed out against Trone over the weekend, just 10 days before Tuesday’s statewide primary. This is the first outside group to appear on the airwaves on behalf of Alsobrooks, as Trone has been smothered by the huge cost advantage he has created using his vast personal wealth.

While Allies of Alsobrooks welcomed the help, some lamented that it did not come sooner. Trone’s seemingly bottomless wallet, donors favoring expensive battlegrounds over blue-state primaries, general fatigue among big political contributors and the prospect of a costly general election in Maryland in November are a few possible reasons other pro-Alsobrooks groups are not spending money. race so far.

“I think it’s a shame he didn’t win more,” said the former House leader, D-Md., who supports Alsobrooks. Steny Hoyer. “I think he’s our strongest candidate.”

Stephanie Brown James, co-founder and executive director of Collective PAC, which supports black candidates and alsobacks Alsobrooks, said: “It was definitely not ideal for the resources to take this long to get going. weather. But now that this has happened, I think it will make a huge difference.”

On air

EMILY’s List first decided to spend money on Alsobrooks about a year later announced that he had put his “full weight” behind him.

It’s in the group to remove statements Criticizes Trone and introduced Alsobrooks in a classy manner EMILY’s List events, can be useful for candidates who want to raise money. The group also supported Alsobrooks with staffing, fundraising, candidate management and expertise in research and polling, said an EMILY’s List source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal efforts.

But his affiliated super PAC didn’t spend a dime on the race until two weeks before the primary.

Last weekend Women Vote! A $2 million ad buy has begun highlighting the attack Alsobrooks used to criticize Trone — coordinates donations from him and his company To Republicans like Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Trone defended donations as a way to protect workers because the company operates in red states.

“David Trone and his company gave half a million dollars to extreme and MAGA Republicans to win their elections” says a narrator in the new ad. “David Trone cares more about his own interests than our rights.”

Alsobrooks told NBC News at a rally with EMILY’s List founder Ellen Malcolm on Saturday that having the group’s support “means everything,” stressing that “we need the financial resources to make sure we can continue to communicate in this race.”

Trone’s campaign responded to the ad by highlighting her “impeccable record on reproductive rights.” Trone spokesman Onotse Omoyeni claimed in a statement that “a conservative donor is using this super PAC to interfere with our Democratic primary.” $500,000 donation to EMILY’s List-aligned super PAC From a donor who has given significant amounts to Republicans as well as Democrats and anti-Trump Republican groups.

It’s a Trone campaign runs its own response adAlleging that Alsobrooks was responsible for the group’s advertising, he criticized him for taking money from lobbyists.

Is it too late?

It remains to be seen whether the spending will be enough to help Alsobrooks leapfrog Trone in Tuesday’s primary.

NBC News’ former Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards, who lost her party’s last competitive Senate primary in Maryland in 2016, said while the money could have moved the needle, it was spent “at the eleventh hour” with absentee ballots. shipping may have limited effect.

“It seems a little late to change hearts and minds, and the tenor of buy-in in terms of how negative it is — going very hard against a candidate with a 100% abortion-rights record — seems to me not. can be the most effective argument,” he said.

In 2016, Edwards lost the primary to then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen, despite the help of EMILY’s List. Women vote! It was a consistent presence on the air for him, spending almost 3 million dollars Starting in late 2015.

Another group works for the US PAC It was largely funded by EMILY’s List and one of its top donors — who spent another $1.7 million to support it in ads and various voting programs. The spending helped narrow the gap between Edwards and Van Hollen, who was significantly ahead of him.

But while Edwards is more highly regarded, the gap between Alsobrooks and Trone is much wider. Trone loaned his campaign more than $57 million (including more than $3 million in the final weeks of the primary) and outspent him 9-1.

One such cash largest congressional self-funding effort in historyAlsobrooks, intimidated by his best rival with a seemingly unlimited supply of cash, could have scared off his supporters.

“The expectation that this man spent so much of his personal wealth — the groups could match that,” said Glynda Carr of Higher Heights, a group that supports black women candidates and endorsed Alsobrooks.

“You don’t have to align with him,” the Democratic strategist replied, noting that even some spending by fringe groups early in the race could have helped boost Alsobrooks’ name recognition outside his home base around Washington. Baltimore.

In a year when Democrats are looking at expensive races across the country to maintain their Senate majority, it can be difficult to attract donors to a primary race, especially in a blue state. But if former Gov. Larry Hogan wins the Democratic primary, Democrats won’t be able to take Maryland for granted this fall, giving Republicans already the best recruit in the entire state.

Brown James of Collective PAC, which has raised money for Alsobrooks, suggested Hogan’s candidacy could deter donors from getting involved in the primary because they would likely have to focus resources on the Maryland general election fight.

He also said that fundraising is slow with donors generally tired and waiting for other priorities.

But both Brown James and Carr hinted that money isn’t everything A 2022 victory for Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass against a wealthy candidate who swamped him on the airwaves.

They also noted that black women, particularly those running for statewide office, have historically struggled with fundraising, but Alsobrooks has attracted large numbers. It has raised $7.8 million as of April 24.

Carr said Alsobrooks broke down some of the traditional barriers for the Black woman candidates in fundraising and early, high-profile endorsements. But Trone’s great wealth presented another obstacle.

“The question here is: If everything was equal in terms of money, what would this race look like?” Carr said.

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By 37ci3

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