The Democratic primary between David Drone and Angela Alsobrooks was brutal.

Read Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary and you might think the state is on the brink of war. That’s how the final race between Congressman David Drone and County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is described.Bruising,” “bitter,” with “hit a boiling point“”Brutal“and”The most brutal Senate primary of 2024.” If you think you have a better word for suffering that starts with the letter “B,” contact your nearest headline writer immediately.

But here’s a less pessimistic explanation for primal competitiveness. Democrats, the Senate campaign committee, usually anoint a candidate and clear meaningful issues, especially not used to such competitive primaries and attacks on territory.

The race won’t stop after Tuesday’s election, a rarity in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. In a surprising turn, former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan Entered the competition Earlier this year. Winning the Maryland Senate race is an entirely different beast than winning the Maryland governor’s race – a few “he’ll be another vote for Senate Republicans” ads can do a lot for this blue – Hogan can’t be taken for granted. .

“I’ve seen some national poll people, election-Twitter people and people who do these kinds of predictions say, ‘Hogan doesn’t have a chance,'” Milia Cromer, an associate professor of political science at Goucher College near Baltimore, told me. But “you don’t discount someone who has maintained an approval rating like that for a decade. It hasn’t dipped below 60 in a decade.

Hogan’s entry added additional pressure to Maryland Democrats—electoral considerations—in deciding who to vote for.

There are not many significant policy differences between Trone and Alsobrooks; This is not a breed that lends itself easily to the rubric of “progressive” and “centrist.” How hostile this race has become is because the two candidates have not distinguished themselves outside of style, background and intelligence.

The important thing to know about Representative David Drone is that he is exceptionally wealthy and, for whatever reason, is willing to spend a historic sum to eat lunch in the Senate dining room for six years.

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Drone, the founder of the liquor retail chain Total Wine & More, has been staring at the national debt clock following the money he personally loaned his campaign. Now that number is over $60 million. He began promoting heavily last fall to build name recognition and has never slowed down. As Semafor’s Dave Weigel reported At a recent drone rally, drone commercials were broadcast while attendees sat in their seats. After more than 15 minutes, no ad came back.

Dron’s chosen case is basically rubbing his fingertips together to remind people of his resources. His argument is one that appeals to the national Senate chessboard and to Democrats’ hopes of retaining the chamber. Since it will take money to beat Hogan, Drone can self-finance as much as he wants. He says, which would give national Democrats “more flexibility to spend money elsewhere,” such as in Montana or Ohio. It’s a roundabout argument—should Maryland primary voters support him because it makes spending decisions easier for Senate Democratic super PACs?—but it speaks to the tendency of Democratic primary voters to fly to the defensive when choosing their candidates.

Angela Alsobrooks, the former state attorney and current executive of Prince George’s County, a DC suburban powerhouse in Maryland politics, has for some time been seen as an upstart in the state, the only thing standing between her and him. The rule is a $60 million wall.

In addition to her experience leading PG County, the Alsobrooks team argues that as a black woman, she is the most exciting candidate to represent and best promote a diverse Maryland Democratic coalition. Her nomination would be historic as she would become the first black woman elected to the Senate from Maryland and the third black woman elected to the Senate.

As you might expect from a businessman who recently entered politics, Drone is a bit of a looser. It’s not hard to predict where controversies might arise in the Democratic primary between a wealthy white man and a black woman, and Drone has given the Alsobrooks campaign its share of material.

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Maximum Veep-As a campaign moment, the drone was meant to say “bugaboo” during a House Budget Committee meeting, but instead of A phonetically similar racial slur was used. That provoked A wave of black Democrats in the House to back Allsbrooks.

First of Trone Negative advertising Against Alsobrooks in late April, meanwhile, one of his supporters said, “The U.S. Senate is no place for training wheels.” (Since when?) Eventually the group of drones swept away However, from the ad Trone used the same line. Comment provoked 650 black women in politics to sign a letter saying the phrase is “not only degrading and dismissive, but also echoes overtones of misogyny and racism”.

cargo, throne described Brooks acknowledged that Prince George’s County officials “have a low level of people” among them. Letters of condemnation were also published with many signatures.

Aside from the obvious odd “bugaboo” issue, some of these controversies are about standard things in competitive primaries: Candidate A says he has better experience and better credentials. (Alsobrooks, to its credit, has a star-studded list of supporters overall, including the state’s Democratic congressional delegation and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore.) But it’s against the background of Alsobrooks’ historic effort and Maryland’s dismal record. Diversity in congressional representation, opinions can strike a nerve.

“One of the reasons we’re tired is the lack of women in our congressional delegation—all men in our House seats, all men in the Senate,” Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College in Maryland, told me. . “This whole idea of ​​secondary people supporting her, ‘training wheels’—I mean, there’s something supportive about it. When you consider that Maryland has no women in its congressional delegation, I don’t think language like that helped him.

For most of the match, Drone held a comfortable lead. But one Emerson Survey Last week, in the first meaningful survey in some time, Trone and Alsobrooks were in intense heat. (Drone was the first to launch airstrike ads a couple of weeks ago. Private polling tells a similar story.) One could point to Drone’s verbal missteps as providing the opening for Alsobrooks. But often, tightness is the result of natural cost patterns. Drone has kept the airwaves to herself for months, while the Alsobrooks campaign, which has controlled more resources, and its outside allies, have only recently begun spending theirs in a coordinated way. Also, when Alsbrooks won Governor Moore’s endorsement, he had a brilliantly earned media output.

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“Obviously, sometimes, glitches like that make a difference,” Cromer said of the drone. “But honestly, she’s the one who finally created that name recognition,” the reason for the tension.

It also raises some questions about what the $60 million drone got for $10 million.

“His numbers in the latest polls are no different than they were in January,” Eberly told me. “If he achieves narrow success in this, ‘Well, did he spend wisely or not?’ “But if he’s going to lose it, you really have to look at it and say, ‘Why spend so much money on a Senate seat?’ That should be asked.”

Maryland Democrats, who are still making up their minds—for the first time in their lives—about who will be more likely to be elected against a Republican Senate candidate, can’t look to the polls for answers. Drone performed better against Hogan than Alsbrooks did in early test-heat studies. Most recent, As with Emerson, show that Alsobrooks and Drone perform almost as well against him. One, in a presidential election year, is favorable but by no means guaranteed to win after an unusually competitive campaign.

Or rather, a brutal, bruising, boiling, and bitter Propaganda.

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