The first round of fundraising numbers are in for the candidates who hope to become Maryland’s next U.S. senator.

Of the declared Democrats, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks raised the most money in donations — $1.73 million — since the May 1 announcement that longtime U.S. Senator Ben Cardin would not run again.

But Alsobrooks doesn’t have the most cash available — not even close. That’s because fellow candidate U.S. Rep. David Trone, founder of Total Wine & More, loaned himself nearly $10 million, which is likely only the first round of personal cash he sends to his campaign.

Here’s a breakdown of the declared candidates for U.S. Senate who filed campaign finance reports over the weekend. The reports cover the second quarter of the year, April 1 through June 30.

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David Trone

Trone loaned his campaign $9.725 million, plus he received nearly $109,000 in other donations, according to his filing.

Trone has pledged not to take campaign donations from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. And he doesn’t need to, because he’s able to bankroll his political campaigns with his personal wealth built from his retail wine empire.

U.S. Rep. David Trone loaned his U.S. Senate campaign $9.725 million. (Jessica Gallagher/Jessica Gallagher)

“We are showing Marylanders from Oakland to Ocean City and everywhere in between that I’ll be a Senator who listens to them, understands the issues they face, and will be ready on day one to make a difference in their lives,” Trone said in a statement.

However, the Trone campaign filed a report over the weekend disclosing that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee combined nearly $85,000 worth of individual donations that were sent to Trone, a practice known as “bundling.”

Trone has not been hesitant to spend money in the early days of the Senate campaign, with more than $4.74 million going out the door during the three-month reporting period.

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Soon after he announced his candidacy for the Senate on May 3, Trone began an ad campaign across TV and the internet.

The commercials highlighted Trone’s backstory growing up on a family farm, struggling financially and finding success as a businessman. In the ads, Trone touts his work on substance use disorders and the need for further criminal justice reform. Those ads cost money. He spent $2.06 million for cable TV with Canal Partners Media. He also paid Gambit Strategies LLC a combined $767,000 to Gambit Strategies for production costs and digital advertising.

The Trone campaign also has sent full-color, glossy mailers to Democratic voters’ mailboxes. The campaign paid just shy of $400,000 to AMS Communications for direct mail.

Trone’s campaign ended June with $5.26 million in the bank.

Angela Alsobrooks

Aside from Trone loaning himself millions, Alsobrooks pulled in the most money among the Democratic contenders.

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She counted $1.73 million in campaign donations since she announced her candidacy on May 9, and ended the reporting period with $1.33 million cash on hand. She spent nearly $400,000 on operating expenses during the reporting period.

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate. She was endorsed by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. outside the Randallstown Community Center on Monday, May 15, 2023.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks says she’s running a “people-powered grassroots campaign” for U.S. Senate. (Pamela Wood)

Alsobrooks’ receipts included scores of individual donations, but also transfers from the campaign accounts of several of the politicians who have endorsed her campaign.

In an email to supporters last week, the Alsobrooks campaign sought to highlight the financial differences between her and Trone.

“I’m running against a multi-millionaire opponent who’s already spent nearly $2 million on TV ads,” the email read. “This race will determine whether a people-powered grassroots campaign really can overcome one with bottomless resources — I’m committed to proving that it’s possible.”

Alsobrooks launched her campaign in May with a dramatic ad that opened with her talking about her great-grandfather’s murder that forced her family to flee South Carolina for Maryland. The ad went on to talk about her accomplishments as state’s attorney and county executive in Maryland’s second-most populous county. She hinted at her unique status in the race as a Black woman, noting in the ad, “Look, I get it: There aren’t a lot of people who look like me in the U.S. Senate.”

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Will Jawando

The third Democrat with political experience is Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando, who was first to get into the race, announcing his candidacy on May 2.

Jawando took in about $526,000 in campaign donations during the reporting period.

Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando, a Democrat, is running for the U.S. Senate for Maryland in 2024.
Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando says he’s “the only grassroots, true blue progressive” in the U.S. Senate race. (Photo courtesy of the Will Jawando campaign)

He spent about $200,000 on operating expenses and ended with about $314,000 in the bank.

Jawando framed himself as a progressive underdog in a statement announcing his fundraising totals.

“There may be other candidates in this race who have more personal wealth and establishment support, but I am proud to be running as the only grassroots, true blue progressive,” the statement said. “I couldn’t be more excited about where we are and I’m so grateful to everyone who donated.”

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Jawando was the first candidate in the race. In his launch video, Jawando talked about “the big lie” that “pits neighbors against neighbors” and sows division. He also talked about his efforts to improve affordable housing and “take on racial injustice” on the Montgomery council.

Other candidates

No big-name Republicans have entered the race for the open Senate seat, though former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, now an MSNBC personality, has openly mulled a run.

Perpetual candidate Robin Ficker, whose last campaign for governor in 2022 netted him 2.8% of the Republican primary vote, is now running for U.S. Senate.

Robin Ficker attends a press conference held by Kelly Schulz at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis on June 30, 2022. Ficker is a frequent candidate for public office and is running for governor as a Republican.
Robin Ficker, a frequent candidate for elected office, is a Republican running for U.S. Senate. (Pamela Wood)

FIcker reported that he loaned his campaign about $78,000 and he spent it all on consultants, literature and other campaign expenses. He spent $14,000 on what he described as “MD statewide Republican primary poll.”

A handful of other Democratic candidates are listed on either the federal or state election websites, but none had filed quarterly reports with the Federal Election Commission as of Sunday evening.

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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