Apr 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Hot Dem primary in Maryland tightens a month before election

Angela Alsobrooks and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.). Photos: Tom Williams, Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Angela Alsobrooks and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.). Photos: Tom Williams, Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

One of the only serious Senate primaries for Democrats is getting more competitive just a month before voters head to polls, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Whoever emerges from the Democratic contest will face a formidable test in keeping the Senate seat blue, with former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, awaiting the winner.

  • Democrat Angela Alsobrooks, a county executive, has cut into the lead of Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), who was elected to the U.S. House in 2018 and has spent heavily in the primary.
  • The primary is one of the most expensive in the country so far, and Marylanders will head to the polls on May 14.

Driving the news: Alsobrooks is within the margin of error against Trone, according to internal Alsobrooks campaign polling obtained by Axios.

  • The poll of 600 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted between April 8 and April 10, shows Trone at 43% and Alsobrooks at 40%, within the 4% margin of error.
  • It continues a trend of public polls that have shown the race getting tighter, although they depict a slightly larger lead for Trone.
  • A Goucher College poll last month showed Trone with a nine point lead and a Washington Post poll last month gave Trone a seven point lead.

Context: The latest internal Alsobrooks polling was conducted after Trone used a racial slur in a congressional hearing in March and subsequently apologized.

Yes, but: Hogan consistently has a lead over both Trone and Alsobrooks in polling.

  • The same Washington Post poll from March gave Hogan a double digit lead over both Democrats.
  • A February internal poll from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) showed similar results.

Follow the money: Trone, a wealthy business man, has accounted for 97% of the over $29 million that has already been spent in the race, according to AdImpact Politics.

  • That figure makes it the third most expensive primary in the country.

What they're saying: NRSC spokesperson Tate Mitchell told Axios that "regardless of who stumbles across the finish line ... Maryland Democrats will be divided."

  • "What this poll makes crystal clear is that David Trone has hit a ceiling and that Angela is on a path to win this race," Alsobrooks' communication director Gina Ford said.
  • The Trone campaign said in a statement that it has "always expected the race to tighten as election day approaches" and remains confident.
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