Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Maryland Democrats battle for party’s future — and control of the Senate

By 37ci3 May14,2024


SILVER SPRING, Md. – The Maryland Senate race was supposed to be a battle for the soul of the Democratic Party. Instead, it turned into something else: a primary race for the Senate majority.

Former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to run for an open state Senate seat has sparked panic, and now Democrats competing in Tuesday’s primary are not just arguing what type of Democrat should be in the Senate. They each argue they are better candidates to face Hogan in November — if Hogan wins his primary on Tuesday.

Democratic Rep. David Trone has poured more than $60 million of his personal wealth into his battle against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who is running to become the state’s first black senator and one of the few black women ever to serve. above camera.

“The main argument you hear for Tron to be in a better position is his resources,” said D-Md., who endorsed Alsobrooks. “And the main argument you’ll hear about Alsobrooks being in a better position is that he’s building a coalition of people across the state who can defeat that kind of money.”

“So in a sense, the core is a good testing ground for both of these theories,” Raskin said.

Millions hit the Maryland airwaves

Trone, co-founder of alcohol retailer Total Wine & More, has used his wealth to build a broad campaign.

That’s no more than the $47 million he spent on campaign ads, compared to Alsobrooks’ $4 million, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact. Campaign finance records show that Trone’s campaign payroll included three times as many staffers as Alsobrooks.

Outside early voting precincts, some Trone campaign workers told NBC News they were being paid $350 a day, while others said they weren’t. (Alsobrooks’ campaign says he doesn’t pay volunteers.)

Alsobrooks, who has fought massive spending disparities, accused Trone of trying to “buy” his Senate seat.

“This is not what democracy looks like in this country,” he said in an interview during a campaign stop in Silver Spring.

Trone argues that his wealth means he is immune from special interests.

“The No. 1 thing that voters really like and appreciate is that you’re from nothing and you’ve started from scratch, it’s been successful. Everyone loves success. This is the American dream,” he said in an interview last week, adding: “We can be truly independent.”

Voters gave mixed reviews to Trone’s cash explosion.

Julia House, a 60-year-old retiree from Mitchellville, said as she went to vote for Alsobrooks, “I don’t think he really gave us a reason to vote for him other than he’s rich and has money,” at an early voting site in Landover last week.

Brett Zurer, a Silver Springs resident who voted for Trone, said he’s focusing on which candidate can beat Hogan in November. Asked if he was concerned about Trone’s self-funding, Zurer said, “Not at all.”

Photo: Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
Then-governor Larry Hogan of Maryland on January 10, 2023 in Annapolis, Md.Julio Cortez / AP file

“His positions are positions I agree with,” he said.

While Trone dominated spending, thanks to her self-funding, Alsobrooks received last-minute help from EMILY’s List, an organization that supports abortion-rights women Democrats and has spent $2.2 million so far on ads in the race.

The money helped close a huge ad spending gap in Trone’s favor — 14 to 1 before EMILY’s List began spending 2 to 1 in Trone’s favor in the final days of the campaign. But some supporters of Alsobrooks he wondered if the spending had come too late.

Targeting black voters

Some Democratic voters said they voted for Alsobrooks in part because they hope to elect another black woman to the Senate in November, where only three have ever served.

Alsobrooks, who hails from Prince George’s County, presides over Maryland’s second-largest county, previously served as a domestic violence prosecutor and later as the first black female state’s attorney.

“I feel like every person should be able to look at the Senate and see themselves,” Alsobrooks told NBC News. “I’m not in this race because I’m Black and a woman, but I’m proud to be a Black woman. But I’m also proud that I have the experience to help bring results home for Maryland.”

Trone attempted to appeal to the state’s Black voters, an important voting bloc in the Democratic primary.

But Trone also stumbled on race and grabbed headlines earlier this year for using one. racial slur during a congressional hearingOffice of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, who is Black, said it was an accidental slip.

“When I tried to use the word ‘bugaboo’ in the matter, I used an offensive term,” he said. “This word has a long, dark, terrible history. It should never be used, anywhere, in any conversation. I understand that I have privilege as a white person.”

Asked about his campaign’s connection to black voters, Trone told NBC News he supports diversity and financially supports “diverse candidates,” referring to his childhood on his family’s 200-acre chicken and hog farm in Pennsylvania along the Maryland border. After his parents divorced, he filed for bankruptcy, noted that he did not come from wealth, and said he could relate to voters.

“But at the end of the day, what we hear from so many different constituents is that we need someone who really speaks for us, who has our values,” Trone said. “I went to public school, [Alsobrooks] went to a private school.”

“Someone who lived the life they did,” Trone said. “I didn’t even have indoor plumbing. We had a house. And I grew up in a destroyed family, destroyed by alcoholism. So we grew up in a difficult environment and things were not easy. But at the end of the day, we were successful and we said, well, now I have to give it back.

Trone has expressed support from politicians including state Attorney General Anthony Browne, Dutch Rep. Ruppersberger and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. Alsobrooks’ home county), as well as dozens of his Democratic peers in Congress.

Alsobrooks’ supporters include Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, as well as Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, key state legislative leaders and six members of Maryland’s congressional delegation.

A fight expected in November

The prospect of running against Hogan loomed large in the Democratic primary with Trone highlights closing ads that he will use “every resource” Defeat the Republicans.

It’s a point where Trone’s allies and even opponents acknowledge that it could help him — Trone’s big purse could allow Democrats to spend money to defend their slim Senate majorities in other states.

Alsobrooks’ allies believe she can muster the coalition needed to defeat Hogan and provide a starker contrast as a female candidate in a year when abortion will be a key issue.

Of course, Hogan still has to win Tuesday’s GOP primary. Hogan, who has been critical of Trump’s voice, faces incumbent Robin Ficker, who self-financed his campaign and outspent Hogan on the airwaves. running ads He said that Fiker “will be with President Trump”.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee teamed up with Hogan for ads before the primary, starting points. focused on immigrationA key issue for GOP primary voters.

Hogan admits he faces a tough road to victory in the fall, assuming he wins the primary. President Joe Biden won Maryland by 33 points in 2020, and the state hasn’t sent a Republican to the Senate since 1987.

“It’s really, really hard,” Hogan told NBC News in an interview last week at a campaign fundraiser in Davidsonville. “The top of the ticket probably won’t be good.”

If Hogan wins the primary, Democrats plan to connect him to the broader Republican Party, particularly on the issue of abortion. Hogan has vowed to leave abortion rights up to the states.

“When I announced this race, I was attacked by both of the other contenders saying I would be the deciding vote on a national abortion ban. I said, ‘No, I would never vote for a national abortion ban.'” Hogan said.

But the abortion issue could turn off some of his former supporters, such as Davidsonville resident Laurie Whiting, who twice voted for Hogan for governor. He said he did not believe Hogan would represent him at the federal level and supported Trone in the Democratic primary.

“I know that [Hogan]’s told us he’s going to stay the same as before, he supported Maryland, but I’m a little worried about the Republican ticket,” Whiting said.

The threat of Hogan’s nomination worries some Democrats in November.

“I wish he hadn’t [running]”, said House, a supporter of Alsobrooks from Mitchellville. “People love him. Therefore, it will be difficult.”

The uphill battle against Hogan weighed heavily on Coleen, a 68-year-old retiree from Bowie, who declined to give her last name and voted for Trone at the same polling place in Landover.

“I don’t think Alsobrooks can beat Hogan in a statewide race,” said Coleen, who is black, explaining that she believes a white candidate would have more appeal in rural areas.

“I want the Democrat to win,” he said. “So it’s all strategic on my end.”



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