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Colleagues’ support for Alsobrooks comes with checks

Maryland county official facing House incumbent who has largely self-funded

Angela Alsobrooks, Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, claps with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., as local officials speak during her “All in for Angela” campaign event at McGinty’s Public House restaurant in Silver Spring on April 24, 2024.
Angela Alsobrooks, Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, claps with Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., as local officials speak during her “All in for Angela” campaign event at McGinty’s Public House restaurant in Silver Spring on April 24, 2024. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While Rep. David Trone has spent millions from his own pocket in seeking to win Maryland’s open Senate seat, Democratic rival Angela Alsobrooks’ more modest fundraising includes $66,300 in donations from fellow politicians, a CQ Roll Call analysis found.

Trone and Alsobrooks have both emphasized their endorsements on the campaign trail and leaned on their surrogates in TV ads ahead of Tuesday’s primary. But while Trone has relied mostly on the wealth he’s earned as a co-founder of Total Wine & More to fund his campaign, Alsobrooks, the county executive in Prince George’s County, Md., has relied on some of her endorsers financially.

That’s by no means uncommon. When advocacy groups endorse a candidate, it often comes with a contribution. Likewise, members of Congress regularly use their leadership PACs to support colleagues facing difficult reelection campaigns.

Five senators gave to Alsobrooks’ campaign through their leadership PACs: Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock gave $7,000, while Washington Sen. Patty Murray, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen each gave $5,000. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley gave $2,500.

Maryland Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a former member of House Democratic leadership, gave her campaign $14,000, the most of any former or current member. Campaigning with her at an election eve rally Monday, Hoyer made the case for Alsobrooks joining a Maryland delegation that is currently all male. If elected, she would be the state’s first Black senator and the third Black woman elected to the Senate, perhaps along with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, the front-runner for Delaware’s open Senate seat.

“Angela brings something totally different and important. Our democracy prides itself on representing all the people, and when the senator from California leaves, there will be no African American women in the Senate,” Hoyer said in an interview, referring to California Sen. Laphonza Butler, who was appointed to serve the remainder of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s term.

The Congressional Black Caucus PAC and some of the group’s individual members also gave to Alsobrooks’ campaign. Former members Marcia Fudge and G.K. Butterfield also donated, as did the former chair of the CBC, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio.

“All of you know how great Angela Alsobrooks is,” Van Hollen said last month at a get-out-the-vote event with Alsobrooks. “You also know that this is a people-powered campaign. She is running against a one-man super PAC.”

Van Hollen, Democratic Gov. Wes Moore and other Maryland elected officials joined Alsobrooks in an ad highlighting her support from the state’s elected officials. Trone has also included his endorsers in ads, including some Prince George’s County officials.

Trone, who has loaned his campaign $61.8 million so far, also played up an endorsement from Illinois Rep. Jonathan L. Jackson in a campaign news release Monday. Jackson, the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, previously appeared in an ad for Trone.

“David has fought to help those Washington often disregards, working to create low-term mortgages for first-time homebuyers, supporting grants to minority entrepreneurs, and lowering the cost of living,” Jackson said in the ad. “Because David knows there’s no justice without economic justice. We may be losing a congressman who’s made a difference. We’re gaining a Senator who will make all the difference.”

Trone has his own share of congressional colleagues who endorsed his campaign. A review of his Federal Election Commission reports showed one $2,000 contribution from California Rep. Pete Aguilar’s campaign. Aguilar is one of the top three House Democrats, who all backed Trone late last year. Trone’s campaign released an ad featuring Marylanders reading House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ endorsement of Trone, which cites his work on criminal justice and to create new jobs. 

Reps. David Trone, D-Md., left, and Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., in the Capitol on April 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, Trone touted the endorsement of Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who beat two Democratic colleagues in the March 5 primary for California’s open Senate seat. California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who ran for president in 2020, sent out an email Sunday asking people to pledge to vote for Trone in the Tuesday primary, citing the risk of losing Maryland’s seat to former Gov. Larry Hogan, the favorite in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary. 

“During his tenure in Congress, David has been a dynamic force for protecting our reproductive rights, lowering costs for families – including the cost of prescription drugs – and reaching across the aisle as needed to get stuff done,” the email reads. “With only 2 days left until the Primary Election, it’s crucial that we rally behind David Trone. David is the only candidate with the resources, experience, and statewide support to BEAT HOGAN and DEFEND our Senate Majority.”

Along with funds from colleagues’ campaign committees and leadership PACs, Alsobrooks also received $32,600 in donations from PACs with corporate ties. 

Trone’s campaign released an ad last week attacking Alsobrooks for accepting donations from lobbyists and special interests. In an interview last month, he said that one of the biggest differences between him and Alsobrooks was that he doesn’t accept donations from lobbyists or corporations. That, he said, makes him better positioned to act on legislation related to issues such as drug shortages.

“I don’t take their money so I can do what’s right,” he said. “And I’ve got the record of getting a lot of stuff done.” 

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