U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) on Thursday became the second major Democratic candidate to join the race to replace U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) in 2024.
“Marylanders need real solutions now, because we face major challenges — and the clock is ticking,” Trone said in a statement. “Opioids and substance use disorders are crushing families and communities. A mental health crisis, especially among our children, has left too many who need help struggling to find it. And it’s getting harder and harder to pay the bills on an honest day’s work. Our criminal justice system is broken. Big pharmaceutical companies are jacking up prices. Access to abortion is under attack. And MAGA extremists threaten to tear down our democracy.
“That’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate: to work with Marylanders, to take on these challenges, and to take the bold steps necessary to make real change. Because this is not about me — it’s about the issues that are facing our state.”
The accompanying video contains a ticking stopwatch, underscoring the urgency of the moment.
Earlier this week, Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D) released a video announcing his intention to run.
In his ad, the 67-year-old congressman, serving his third term in the House, leans into his humble roots as a man whose father’s Pennsylvania farm was foreclosed by a bank. He also discusses his bipartisan work in Congress spotlighting such issues as drug abuse, mental health and criminal justice reform. And he talks about his own personal commitments to restorative justice and charitable work.
“We learned there’s no shame in asking for help — but there is in not helping,” he says.
Undergirding Trone’s campaign is his immeasurable wealth: He’s the co-founder of a national liquor store chain, and he’s capable of spending tens of millions of dollars of his own money on the campaign — a formidable sum that no other candidate will come close to matching. Trone has also been a major donor to Democratic candidates and causes, educational programs and advocacy groups. Still, he attempts to cast himself as a political outsider in his video.
“By bringing people together, I’d like to think I’ve made headway, but it’s not enough,” he says. “I know I won’t be the establishment choice, but hey, why start now?”
In his announcement video, Jawando, 41, outlined an egalitarian vision with progressive policy solutions, leavened with a call for a generational change in leadership.
Next up in the quickly developing Democratic Senate primary: An expected announcement next week from Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks that she is going to run. And U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th) and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. (D) also continue to ponder the race.
District 6 dominoes
Trone’s announcement is sure to turbo-charge the subterranean race to replace him in the House.
The 6th District, which takes in part of Montgomery County and most of Western Maryland, is competitive. Although Trone won reelection by 10 points last year, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report gives it a D+2 rating, meaning that Democrats in the past two presidential elections have outperformed their national showings by 2 points in the district. Only 45 of the 435 House districts in the U.S. are within the most competitive D+3 to R+3 range.
Democrats expected to look at the race include state Del. Lesley J. Lopez (Montgomery), former Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, state Sen. Brian J. Feldman (Montgomery), and April McClain-Delaney, a U.S. Commerce Department official and wife of former Rep. John Delaney (D), who held the seat before Trone did.
Potential Republican contenders include House Minority Leader Jason Buckel (Allegany) and former Del. Dan Cox, the GOP nominee for governor in 2022 who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 8th District in 2016.
The field of potential Democratic and Republican contenders could grow in the days ahead now that Trone’s Senate bid is official.
(Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation was a financial supporter of Maryland Matters in 2017 and 2018. Jamie Raskin and Will Jawando have been featured speakers at Maryland Matters fundraisers.)
By Josh Kurtz