David Trone

Democratic State Rep. David Trone, a wealthy businessman who ran in state Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, speaks during the news conference following the Maryland delegation's meeting on the federal response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

'Billionaire Bully' for Big Business Defeated in Record-Setting Maryland Primary Race

Prince George's County executive Angela Alsobrooks wins Democratic nomination for open U.S. Senate seat over retail wine magnate David Trone, who self-funded his campaign with over $60 million.

Despite spending over $61 million of his own money in the Democratic Primary, wealthy business owner and state Rep. David Trone came up short in Maryland's Democratic primary race for an open U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, bested by Angela Alsobrooks, executive of Prince George's County.

Due to the self-funding of Trone, co-owner of the Total Wine & More retail chain, the primary became the most expensive in state history. Despite polls showing Trone as the clear favorite leading up to Tuesday's vote, Alsobrooks won by a full 12 points. According to the Baltimore Sun, with 100% of precincts reporting, the final tally was 54% to 41.9%.

"For anyone who has ever felt counted out, overlooked, and underestimated, I hope you know that the impossible is still possible," Alsobrooks, who had the support of most major players in the Maryland Democratic Party apparatus, told supporters during a victory speech on Tuesday night.

She vowed to defeat the Republican nominee for the seat, former two-term governor Larry Hogan, and said the Democratic Party was "united in our focus to keep the Senate blue."

Political observers took note of the unexpected margin of victory as well as the dynamic of Trone's outsized spending.

"So…. Not a single poll had Alsobrooks winning by anywhere close to double digits, elections absolutely can break late, and campaigns matter," said Colin Seeberger, senior communications director for the Center for American Progress. "Feels like there are some lessons to be learned here for, I don't know, future elections."

Fight Corporate Monopolies, a progressive advocacy group opposed to concentrations of corporate power, opposed Trone based on his fealty to monopoly interests during the primary and called him "just another billionaire bully who thinks he can buy himself a Senate seat."

The group ran one ad comparing Trone to former president Donald Trump and documenting his attacks on rival small businesses and workers:

Following Tuesday's defeat, Faiz Shakir with Fight Corporate Monopolies, said: "I believe [our] ad against Trone—both in timing and in message—played a key role in changing the trajectory of the Senate race."

John Nichols, veteran political reporter for The Nation, said: "Maryland Democratic voters rejected mega-rich corporate monopolist David Trone in their Senate primary and instead chose highly qualified Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks to take on Republican Larry Hogan. Good move."

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