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Trone ponies up nearly $10 million of his own money in U.S. Senate bid

U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)—one of the wealthiest men in Congress—has pumped nearly $10 million of his personal fortune into an effort to win the Senate seat now held by Democrat Ben Cardin.

In the two months between Cardin’s May 1 announcement that he would not seek another term and the end of the second quarter of the year on June 30, Trone—co-owner of Total Wine & More, a nationwide chain of alcohol beverage retail outlets—funneled $9.725 million in personal funds into his campaign, according to disclosure reports filed Saturday with the Federal Election Commission. He previously had invested $150,000 on March 31, in quietly launching an exploratory effort amid widespread speculation that Cardin would not run again, for a total of $9.875 million from his own pocket.

As he faces off in a Democratic primary next May against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, Trone’s self-financing enabled him to mount a statewide media blitz shortly after announcing his Senate candidacy. The FEC reports show him spending nearly $4.73 million in the period from April 1 through June 30, with the largest chunk of that—more than $2.2 million—going for TV ads on cable systems around the state as well as on some Baltimore broadcast outlets.

Trone spent almost three times the $1.73 million that Alsobrooks—vying to become the state’s first Black senator as well as only the third Black woman senator in U.S. history—raised in outside contributions during the second quarter of the year. But her campaign has expressed confidence in what they feel is her fast start on the fundraising front, as Alsobrooks has picked up several key endorsements from prominent Maryland elected officials in recent weeks.

She spent about $392,000 during the second quarter, leaving her with more than $1.33 million in her campaign treasury as of June 30.

Jawando—who was a congressional and White House aide prior to running for elected office—raised about $526,000 since early May and spent a little more than $200,000. He, too, is vying to be the state’s first Black senator.

While regarded as the longshot of the three major contenders in the Democratic
Senate contest, Jawando—first elected to the County Council in 2018—has sought to step up his appeal to progressive voters after U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) announced a week ago that he would not enter the Senate race.

“There may be other candidates in this race who have more personal wealth and establishment support, but I am proud to be running as the only grassroots, true blue progressive,” Jawando, a Silver Spring resident, declared in a statement Saturday.

With former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan repeatedly expressing disinterest in the Senate race, the winner of the Democratic Senate primary is expected to go into next year’s general election campaign as a prohibitive favorite to succeed Cardin.

Prior to the Senate race, Trone, first elected to the House in 2018, had poured a cumulative $43.5 million in personal funds into his past campaigns for Congress. While the nearly $10 million he so far has put into the Senate race is technically a loan, such loans by wealthy candidates to their own campaigns are rarely repaid—and become de facto contributions.
Although virtually all of his Senate campaign has been self-financed, Trone did report about $108,000 in outside contributions.

“Trone continues his long tradition of refusing any contributions from [political action committees] or lobbyists, relying on his own resources and grassroots support in the wide-open race for Maryland’s Senate seat,” his campaign said in a statement issued Saturday.

But his longstanding claim of not taking PAC funds may be called into question by a separate report he filed with the FEC Saturday, in which he acknowledged that more than $84,000 of the individual contributions he received had been “bundled” by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee PAC.

So-called bundling of individual donations long has been utilized by PACs in an effort to enhance their clout on Capitol Hill.

Source: moco360