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  5. One of the wealthiest members of Congress spent over $60 million just to lose Maryland's messy Democratic Senate primary

One of the wealthiest members of Congress spent over $60 million just to lose Maryland's messy Democratic Senate primary

Brent D. Griffiths,John L. Dorman   

One of the wealthiest members of Congress spent over $60 million just to lose Maryland's messy Democratic Senate primary
  • Angela Alsobrooks is projected to be the winner of Maryland's Democratic Senate primary.
  • Alsobrooks will now face former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election.

Rep. David Trone, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, spent over $60 million of his own fortune to try to win a Democratic Senate primary. The Associated Press called the election for his competitor.

With nearly 40% of all votes in, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is projected to have defeated Trone in Maryland's Democratic US Senate primary, according to Decision Desk HQ. Alsobrooks will now face former Gov. Larry Hogan, who easily won the Republican primary, in the November general election.

Hogan is a major GOP recruit whose candidacy has turned the Maryland contest into one of the closest-watched races ahead of November.

Trone, a three-term House Democrat, made millions before entering politics by co-founding Total Wine & More, the nation's largest private wine retailer. In a striking pitch to voters, he argued that his vast wealth was an asset to the Democratic Party and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer can't afford to lose the Senate seat if he wants to keep the party's slim majority in the chamber. Trone's point was that if the party has to spend money defending Maryland, it will have less available in other close races.

"We're going to continue to spend whatever it takes to win," Trone told reporters last week, according to CNN. "That will give them a lot more flexibility to spend money elsewhere. And I'm sure that will appeal to the leader Schumer."

When Alsobrooks jumped into the Senate race, she touted her work as a domestic violence prosecutor and her experience leading the state's second-most populous jurisdiction in making the case for her candidacy. As county executive, she has been immersed in the nuts and bolts of local government and focused heavily on public safety, an issue that Republicans have sought to hammer Democrats on in recent cycles.

And Alsobrooks — who was endorsed by Maryland Democratic heavy hitters including Gov. Wes Moore, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, and veteran Rep. Steny Hoyer — had long made it clear that she felt Trone's financial edge would not define the campaign in the eyes of voters.

"I think Marylanders are really savvy," Alsobrooks told Washington-area CBS affiliate WUSA9 in a March interview. "And they recognize that you should not be able to buy a Senate seat."

The race between the two Democrats became heated in the closing days. Since Trone and Alsobrooks agreed on most policy areas, the contest became a proxy battle over identity and the party's future. Alsobrooks leaned into her history-making candidacy, an appeal underlined by the reality that the Senate could soon again be without a Black woman. Despite having a 10-member congressional delegation, Maryland doesn't currently have a woman representing the state in either chamber.

Alsobrooks' allies also tried to blunt Trone's massive financial advantage by pointing out that Trone's firm donated to Republicans who have supported restricting access to abortion. Trone, who supports abortion rights, responded by pointing out that he left Total Wine's parent company in 2015 and has received a 100% rating from the abortion-rights advocacy organization Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Americas).

Trone was forced to reel in one of his campaign's sharpest attacks.

According to The Washington Post, Trone edited a surrogate's comment on a recent ad that suggested that Alsobrooks would need "training wheels" in the Senate.

Democrats currently control the Senate by a narrow 51-49 margin, and with West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin's retirement at the end of his term, Republicans are virtually guaranteed to pick up his seat.

Republicans see Montana and Ohio as their top Democratic Senate targets this year, while also looking to compete in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

But Hogan's candidacy in Maryland — in one of the bluest states in the country — is giving them hope where they would otherwise not have a top-tier candidate.