Days after a high-profile potential candidate bowed out of the Maryland race for U.S. Senate, Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) unleashed several dozen endorsements Tuesday, bolstering his own candidacy in what his campaign called a “wide open” contest.
Trone’s campaign announcement of 40 local and state government leaders, primarily from his Western Maryland congressional district, follows his colleague Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-Md.) much-watched decision late Friday to stay out of the highly contested race.
Raskin’s decision to remain on the House Oversight Committee, keeping his star-power out of the contest, helped shape the contours of the emerging Democratic primary race to replace Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), whose term ends in 2024.
Raskin has a national liberal following from his leadership roles in both former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment proceedings and hearings into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“He would have been the most progressive candidate in the race, and it’ll be interesting to see where those progressive voters go,” Mileah Kromer, a pollster and political science professor at Goucher College, said. Kromer said Raskin’s decision to stay out of the race “allows a quicker consolidation of the field.”
Trone, a multimillionaire wine mogul with a history of self-funding his campaigns, faces as his chief opponent Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who has secured high-profile endorsements from the party’s establishment, most notably Reps. Steny H. Hoyer, the former majority leader, and Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore.
Mailboxes across the state have received mailers from Trone, who also launched a large statewide advertising campaign shortly after announcing his candidacy in May. He is known for intense focus in the House on three core issues: the opioid crisis and addiction, mental health and criminal justice reform. Alsobrooks, meanwhile, has highlighted her perspective as a Black woman and mother, also drawing on her experience as a prosecutor.
Trone and Alsobrooks have the most extensive political networks and name recognition among Democrats who have declared plans to run. Montgomery County council member Will Jawando (D), political newcomer Steven Henry Seuferer and Jerome Segal, a perennial candidate and progressive activist, have also announced campaigns.
Trone’s endorsements range from small-town mayors to Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater (D). His newly announced supporters include Del. Kris Fair (D-Frederick), the first-term delegate who chairs the LGBTQ+ caucus, and Senate Majority Leader Nancy King (D-Montgomery).
“They endorsed me because they understand that Marylanders deserve a progressive candidate ready to work day one on the issues that cannot wait,” Trone said in a statement.
The contest’s first campaign finance reports will be public Saturday, but Alsobrooks’s campaign manager sent supporters a memo last week saying she raised $1.7 million in the first seven weeks of her campaign.
The memo said she “lapped the field on endorsements” and laid out a plan to secure votes in her home base of Prince George’s and in the Baltimore region.