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Election 2024 Government & Politics

Trone continues record-setting spending blitz

U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) speaks to voters at a U.S. Senate candidate forum hosted by the Democratic Club of Leisure World. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) dropped another $12.35 million into his U.S. Senate campaign during the first 3 1/2 weeks of April, bringing his total personal investment in the race to a jaw-dropping $54.1 million.

Trone is now the second biggest self-funder in a U.S. Senate race, behind U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who spent more than $63 million of his own money in 2018, according to the campaign finance website Open Secrets.

According to his latest campaign finance report, filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission, Trone’s campaign took in $12,520,599.06 between April 1 and April 24 — all but $170,599.06 of that staggering figure from his own pocket.

The three-term congressman reported spending almost $10 million in that 3 1/2-week period alone, bringing his overall spending this election cycle to $54,490,568.06. His personal expenditures are a reported $54,121,000.

Trone is locked in a tight race for the Democratic Senate nomination with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), but he has dwarfed her relatively robust fundraising with his personal wealth. Early voting in the May 14 primary began Thursday and runs through May 9; tens of thousands of ballots have also already been cast by mail.

The state’s three open seat races for the U.S. House of Representatives have also seen prodigious amounts of spending, but nothing approaching the levels in the Senate primary, thanks to Trone.

Alsobrooks, who has set fundraising records of her own, reported taking in $621,512.20 for her principal campaign committee from April 1 to April 24 — though $125,000 of that was transferred in from a separate fundraising entity, the Alsobrooks Victory Fund. The campaign reported spending $1,909,834.17 during that 3 1/2-week period, and had $1,909,103.52 on hand on April 24.

Overall, Alsobrooks’ campaign committee has raised $7,784,331.53 and spent $5,875,228.01 since she joined the race almost a year ago.

The Alsobrooks Victory Fund reported raising $247,815.68 from April 1 to April 24 and distributing $294,193.94 during that time. It reported $18,117.63 on hand.

Trone’s cash on hand as of April 24 was $372,481.40, but that bottom line is immaterial given his apparent unlimited resources.

The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in the fall, who has also been no slouch on the fundraising front.

Hogan’s principal campaign committee reported raising $1,169,348.10 over the first 3 1/2 weeks of April, spending $898,731.66 and banking $1,786,807.08.

That take, according to campaign finance report, included a $756,496.59 transfer from a second fundraising entity, the Hogan Victory Fund. That campaign committee reported raising $917,693.10 for the first 3 1/2 weeks of April, spending $937,878.57, and finishing the reporting period with $555,976.33 in the bank.

Better Path Forward PAC, Hogan’s political action committee, reported raising $27,159.31 during that 3 1/2-week period and had $325,610.86 in the bank as of April 24.

The winner of the Senate election will replace U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who is retiring after three terms. Cardin’s political career dates back to 1966.

3rd congressional district

Huge sums of money are pouring into the 22-candidate Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3rd) — which is no small irony, given the nine-term congressman’s status as one of the leading political reformers on Capitol Hill.

Former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, whose heroics during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol propelled him to national celebrity, continues to set the pace. He took in $811,587.11 between April 1 and April 24, bringing his take since he joined the race in January to $4,585,632.37. He spent $1,787,651.33 in the 3 1/2-week reporting period, finishing with $713,845.65 in the bank on April 24.

State Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) raised $541,109.65 from April 1 to April 24 and has collected $1,456,870.29 since entering the race. She spent $862,204.63 over those 3 1/2 weeks and had $247,565.59 on hand on April 24.

Elfreth’s own aggressive spending is being buttressed by an independent expenditure from the United Democracy Project, a super PAC affiliated with the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, which has dropped seven figures into the race on her behalf. While the Elfreth campaign and the PAC cannot communicate or coordinate activities, several of Elfreth’s opponents have been critical of the presence of what they’re calling “dark money” in the race.

Full details of the United Democracy Fund’s spending on the 3rd District ran are not currently available on the Federal Election Commission website.

State Sen. Clarence K. Lam (D-Howard and Anne Arundel) remains third in the money chase, pulling in $96,257.18 between April 1 and April 24 and finishing with $131,648.70 in the bank after spending $469,654.71. Overall he has raised $736,126.05 for the race since becoming a candidate last fall.

Only one other 3rd District Democrat in the 22-candidate field had a six-figure campaign war chest as of April 24, and it wasn’t any of the three other state lawmakers in the race. That distinction belonged to Aisha Khan, a child care center owner who dropped $115,000 of her own money into the campaign between April 1 and April 24. She reported $155,282.99 on hand.

6th congressional district

April McClain Delaney, a former U.S. Commerce Department official and top-spending candidate in the Democratic primary to replace Trone, dropped another half million dollars of her own money into the race between April 1 and April 24. In all, Delaney has raised $1,940,409, including $1,050,000 from her own pocket, and has spent $1,173,254.29 on the campaign through April 24. She had $767,154.71 on hand.

Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery), considered by many political professionals to be the other leading Democrat in the field, reported raising $75,855.26 in the 3 1/2-week reporting period, and spending $193,332.86 during that time. He has raised $686,545.58 and spent $569,511.86 overall, and had $117,113.72 in his campaign account as of April 24.

Hagerstown Mayor Takesha Martinez has been another leading fundraiser in the Democratic primary, but her pre-primary report on financial activities in April was not posted on the FEC report as of Friday morning.

The Republican race is largely thought to be a three-way race between former Del. Neil C. Parrott, who was the two-time Republican nominee against Trone, former Del. Dan Cox, the party’s 2022 standard-bearer for governor, and Tom Royals, a business development manager and Navy veteran.

Royals has led the way on the fundraising throughout this campaign, though he and Parrott essentially tied on their take for the recent short reporting period.

Royals brought in $55,434.65 between April 1 and April 24 and has raised $521,197.17 overall. He spent $79,791.46 during the reporting period and has spent $448,465.48 in total. He had $72,731.69 in the bank on April 24.

Parrott raised $53,139.80, bringing his total for the campaign to $346,607.58. He banked $163,131.10 on April 24 after spending $15,504.24 in the previous 3 1/2 weeks. He has spent $249,765.11 overall.

Cox has lagged on the fundraising support, despite his ties to former President Donald Trump, who appeared at a fundraiser for him at his Mar-a-Lago beach club in Florida during the 2022 campaign. Cox brought in $12,845.25 during the first 3 1/2 weeks of April for a total of $123,311.79 this election, a take that includes $3,000 from his own pocket. He had $23,425.97 in the bank on April 24 after spending $99,885.82 since becoming a candidate.

Whomever emerges from the primaries, the general election is expected to be competitive, with Democrats retaining a slight edge.

2nd congressional district

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. (D), the heavy favorite to replace retiring 11-term Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), is also the strong leader in fundraising. He took in $104,010 in April alone, and has raised $836,745.48 since becoming a candidate. He spent $259,746.65 between April 1 and April 24 and retained $603,406.62 in his campaign account. Overall, he has spent $493,085.51.

Olszewski’s top Democratic primary opponent, Del. Harry Bhandari (D-Baltimore County), raised $47,083 during the latest fundraising period and has collected $180,598.22 overall. He had $31,769.89 in his war chest on April 24.

The leading Republican in the race is MAGA radio personality Kim Klacik, who raised close to $9 million for a long shot bid in the 7th District in 2020. But this time her fundraising has yet to kick in. She reported raising $8,640.37 during this April reporting period and just $38,446.92 since becoming a candidate. She had $12,337.59 on hand as of April 24.

The story has been updated to show that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is the biggest self-funder in Senate race history.

Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation was a financial supporter of Maryland Matters in 2017 and 2018.


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Trone continues record-setting spending blitz