Maryland Rep. David Trone announced his Senate candidacy Thursday. He has poured millions into his congressional campaigns and is likely to be in a fierce Democratic primary race for the retiring seat of Sen. Ben Cardin.
Trone's announcement video begins with a ticking timer and Trone rattles off statistics on deaths due to overdoses, mental illness, and racial injustice in the criminal justice systems.
Is this something you can accept? Who? The congressman replies, "Not to me."
Will Jawando, a Montgomery County Councilmember, launched his campaign earlier this week. Other big names such as Rep. Jamie Raskin may also be in contention for the Democratic nomination. In a state where President Joe Biden won by 33 points, the general election will not be competitive. The real action is going to be in the primaries, which will determine the mood of the Democratic electorate by 2024.
Cardin, who is the Chair of the Small Business Committee as well as the second-ranking Democrat in the Foreign Relations Committee announced on Monday that he will not be running for reelection 2024. His departure creates an opportunity for ambitious Democrats to run in a blue-state. Maryland's deadline for filing is February 9, 2020.
Trone, owner and cofounder of Total Wine & More could bring substantial personal resources to the race. According to the Federal Election Commission, he loaned more money to his campaign in 2022 for Maryland's sixth district than any other House candidate. He was reelected last fall with a margin of about 10 points, in a district that Biden won by a similar margin to his in 2020.
It is not the first time he has self-funded. He spent $12 million on his own money to win the 6th District nomination in 2018. This was slightly less than the $13 million he spent in 2016 to gain the nomination in 8th District. He lost to Raskin.
Trone's Senate announcement video highlights his humble beginnings, despite his personal wealth. He talks about his family farm being seized by a bank.
He says, 'I understand what it is like to struggle.' I learned that there's nothing wrong with asking for help. But there is something wrong about not helping.
He calls out the 'unfair criminal justice system' and touts his employer record. He also emphasizes his rejection of corporate PAC contributions and lobbyist donations, which is a litmus-test in some Democratic primary elections in recent years. He helped to form the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force in Congress.
Trone earned $185,013 during the first quarter, which ended March 31, this year. This included a personal loan of $150,000. He had about $171,000 on hand at the beginning of the second quarter.
Jawando announced his candidacy for president on Tuesday, with a message of economic equality. He served in the Obama Administration as the associate director of White House Office of Public Engagement and then as an advisor to the Education Secretary Arne D. Duncan.
Jawando said in his video announcement that 'there's a great lie in America but it is not about Donald Trump'. The real lie that you hear every day, and that turns neighbors against each other, is that if I do well, then you must do worse.
He concludes, 'I am running for Senate because we can create a shared prosperity that will lift everyone up in Maryland'.