Angela Alsobrooks wins Democratic primary in crucial Maryland Senate race (2024)

Angela Alsobrooks has clinched the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat, overcoming a multimillion-dollar spending gap with her opponent and attacks on her experience to advance to a closely watched general election match against Republican Larry Hogan, Decision Desk HQ projects.

Alsobrooks, who leads Maryland’s second-largest county, could become the fourth Black woman ever to serve in the U.S. Senate. During her primary campaign against Rep. David Trone, Alsobrooks leaned on her personal experiences as the daughter of Black working-class Marylanders, as a mother, and as a local official and former prosecutor steeped in kitchen-table issues.

“It’s hard to represent people who you don’t understand and whose lives you don’t know,” Alsobrooks said as part of a lengthy interview with The 19th. “I understand the struggles of hard-working families because I grew up in one. How we solve a lot of these issues is borne directly from my personal experience of watching people work hard to make things happen for their families.”

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Angela Alsobrooks wins Democratic primary in crucial Maryland Senate race (2)

Trone, the owner of beverage chain Total Wine & More, used the power of his wallet to pelt Marylanders with ads promoting his campaign, reportedly spending more in the state than President Joe Biden’s official campaign arm had spent on ads nationwide since the start of 2023. While final spending totals are not immediately available, the most recent filings show that as of April 24, Trone had outspent Alsobrooks by a ratio of 10-to-1, spending $51 million to her $5.9 million.

Alsobrooks will face popular former Gov. Larry Hogan in one of the most hotly contested Senate battles this cycle. Hogan’s entry into the race gave Democrats, already in a weaker position, one more seat to defend. It means that control of the Senate could come down to this toss-up race in a blue-leaning state.

In the primary, Trone used his wealth to promote himself and to attack Alsobrooks, including with one mudslinging ad that featured a series of Black Maryland officials criticizing Alsobrooks. In the ad, one official suggested Alsobrooks would need “training wheels” to serve in the Senate.

The ad prompted a stern rebuke from more than 650 Black women leaders, including former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile, who joined in a public statement calling Trone’s ad “not only disparaging and dismissive but also echoes tones of misogyny and racism.”

“This attempt to undermine Ms. Alsobrooks’ candidacy is deeply troubling and emblematic of the obstacles Black women face in political spheres,” the letter read.

Angela Alsobrooks wins Democratic primary in crucial Maryland Senate race (3)

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Trone also faced criticism for using a racial slur during a congressional hearing in March; Trone quickly apologized and said it was an unintentional mistake.

Alsobrooks, a Black woman whose family fled the Jim Crow South for Maryland, could help address the lack of representation in the Senate, where only three Black women have ever served. The lone Black woman in the Senate right now, Democratic Sen. Laphonza Butler of California, will exit the chamber when her temporary appointment ends later this year. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware is also mounting a Senate bid; if both women are elected, it would mark the first time in U.S. history that two Black women have served in the Senate at the same time.

During her campaign, Alsobrooks highlighted the absence of women representing Maryland in Congress. The state also has never elected a person of color to the Senate.

In Alsobrooks, the Senate would also gain the voice of a mother a decade younger than the Senate average. Alsobrooks said that her experience raising her daughter — from procuring child care as a working mom, to securing accommodations for learning differences, to watching her attend college in a state where abortion is banned — have all informed her policy stances.

Alsobrooks highlighted her job performance as county executive of Prince George’s County, talking about how her administration brought jobs to the area, broke ground on 10 new schools, and successfully fought for the new FBI headquarters to be built there.

She also defended herself against attacks by Trone claiming that her decade as Prince George’s top prosecutor would be anathema to Maryland’s Black voters. Some criminal justice advocates on the left also criticized Alsobrooks’ record, specifically her support for policies that have been found to exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including increased police presence in schools and mandatory minimum sentences.

Alsobrooks, who was the first woman to hold that county position, said she’s the only candidate in the race who knows “what it means to keep communities safe, while also working not to harm our children, and also making sure that we have the appropriate justice and second chances built into the system.”

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Angela Alsobrooks wins Democratic primary in crucial Maryland Senate race (2024)

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