May 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Maryland Rep. David Trone launches 2024 Senate bid

Rep. David Trone, wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, speaks at a campaign event.

Rep. David Trone at his 2022 election night event. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) on Wednesday announced his candidacy to replace retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), adding to a potentially hotly contested Democratic primary.

Why it matters: Trone, a three-term House member and co-founder of Total Wine & More, has a personal fortune and electoral record that could make him a serious contender for the seat.

  • Trone is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, reporting between roughly $40 million and $150 million in assets in his 2021 financial disclosure.

Driving the news: In a launch video, Trone cited his business background and his congressional record on substance abuse deaths, the mental health crisis and criminal justice reform.

  • “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," he said in an accompanying press release obtained by Axios.
  • The press release also cited abortion access and "MAGA extremists threaten[ing] to tear down our democracy" as other key issues.
  • In an apparent nod to the likelihood that he'll face stiff competition from other high-profile Democrats, he said in the video, "I know I won't be the establishment choice. But hey, why start now?"

The backdrop: The co-founder and co-owner of Total Wine & More, a Maryland-based alcohol retail chain, along with his brother David, Trone unsuccessfully ran for a House seat in the D.C. suburbs in 2016.

  • He lost the race to now-Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the progressive ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and another potential candidate for Cardin's seat.
  • In 2018 Trone won a more competitive seat in another part of the state, the Western panhandle, fending off a credible Republican challenger in 2020 and 2022.

The state of play: Raskin has not yet announced his intentions, but the race is already heating up.

  • Will Jawando, a council member from populous Montgomery County in the D.C. suburbs, became the first major candidate in the race on Tuesday with a campaign focused on income inequality.
  • Other potential candidates include Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

What we’re watching: Cardin, a giant of Maryland politics whose endorsement could carry considerable sway in a crowded primary, hasn’t said whether he will back a would-be successor.

  • “We’ve got a lot of great Democrats,” he said at the Capitol on Tuesday, “We’ve got a big batch of them, and I’m very optimistic that one of those individuals will be the next senator.”
Go deeper