Angela Alsobrooks Clinches Democratic Senate Nod Against $61 Million Self-Funder

The county executive beat liquor store magnate David Trone, putting her a step closer to becoming the first Black woman elected to the Senate from Maryland.
After clinching the Democratic nomination against David Trone, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks will face ex-GOP Gov. Larry Hogan in November.
After clinching the Democratic nomination against David Trone, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks will face ex-GOP Gov. Larry Hogan in November.
Bill Clark via Getty Images

Angela Alsobrooks, a county executive from the Washington, D.C., suburbs, is projected to win Maryland’s Democratic U.S. Senate nomination against Rep. David Trone, a liquor store magnate who spent more than $61 million of his fortune trying to beat her.

The outcome is stunning considering that Trone, the founder of Total Wine & More, outspent the Prince George’s County executive 7 to 1, blanketing the TV airwaves with more than two dozen unique ads in the months leading up to the primary.

If elected in November, Alsobrooks would be the first Black woman to join the U.S. Senate from Maryland. The Senate currently has only one Black woman, Democrat Laphonza Butler of California, who is serving out the remainder of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s term and leaving Washington at the end of the year.

Democrats have the chance to add two Black women to the Senate with November’s election — Alsobrooks and Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, who is running unopposed for the nomination to succeed retiring Democrat Tom Carper in a safely blue seat.

But Alsobrooks, who is running to replace retiring Democrat Ben Cardin, doesn’t have the same easy route to Congress.

She’ll face former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, a moderate who was twice elected in deep-blue Maryland thanks to Democratic crossover votes. Hogan easily won the Republican nomination Tuesday, giving Republicans their best shot at expanding their Senate map to Maryland and flipping control of the chamber.

Hogan’s entry into the race just before the February filing deadline complicated things for Democrats. Practically overnight, Maryland’s Senate contest went from virtually noncompetitive to another endangered seat on the party’s treacherous Senate map.

“The contrast in this race could not be clearer,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, said in a statement immediately following the results that signaled the beginning of the intense general election. “Angela Alsobrooks underfunded law enforcement while crime is skyrocketing in her county. For eight years, Governor Hogan delivered results for Maryland by reaching across the aisle. Marylanders know they can trust Governor Hogan to keep their communities safe and achieve results in Washington.”

Alsobrooks wrote on X: “On November 5, 2024, we are going to defeat Larry Hogan, keep Maryland blue, and keep our Senate under Democratic control — spread the word.”

Had he won, Trone had vowed to continue spending his fortune to help Democrats keep the seat so the party would be less pressured to redirect resources from key races in Arizona, Montana and Ohio. But it’s not clear what his plans are now that he’s not the nominee and has already spent $74 million to lose this and another Democratic primary in 2016.

Rep. David Trone spent $61 million but still ended up without the Democratic nomination. Trone had argued he would be a stronger opponent for Republican Larry Hogan.
Rep. David Trone spent $61 million but still ended up without the Democratic nomination. Trone had argued he would be a stronger opponent for Republican Larry Hogan.
via Associated Press

Trone ran on his record supporting bipartisan measures addressing mental health and substance abuse treatment and criminal justice reform, and had argued he’d be able to hit the ground running in the Senate. Alsobrooks, meanwhile, cited her work addressing the economy, public safety and the pandemic as the top elected official in Maryland’s second-largest county.

The primary tested Democrats’ commitment to diversity in a state where nearly a third of the population is Black. Trone argued that while representation is “fantastic,” voters needed to “leave color behind” and choose the best person for the job.

It also sharply divided Democrats. Trone claimed he was the outsider against Alsobrooks since most of Maryland’s Democratic establishment was behind her, an argument that rubbed some of her supporters the wrong way in light of the primary’s financial and racial dynamics. Alsobrooks had Gov. Wes Moore and Sen. Chris Van Hollen in her corner, while Trone won the endorsement of the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association.

Trone’s language became its own liability after he accidentally used a racial slur in a congressional hearing and referred to Alsobrooks’ supporters as “low-level folks.” Earlier this month, Trone removed a portion of an attack ad following backlash from Black women over the inclusion of an official saying voters needed to choose a senator who didn’t need “training wheels.”

Alsobrooks didn’t mention the slur or other controversial incidents at a rally last month in Oxon Hill, Maryland, but she swiped at Trone for “pandering” to voters with “talk about second chances.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who endorsed Alsobrooks in the primary, summed up the dynamics of the race for Capitol Hill reporters earlier this month.

“If [Trone] wins, it will demonstrate the awesome power of that much money,” he said. “If she wins, it will demonstrate the awesome power of her organizing and her ability to overcome a huge financial disadvantage.”

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