U.S. Rep. David Trone pledged to support Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks after losing resoundingly to her in the Democratic primary for an open U.S. Senate seat.

What he didn’t say is what that support would look like.

Trone famously spent more than $60 million of his fortune on the race, which blanketed the airwaves, roadsides, and mailboxes with positive messages about his support for abortion rights, mental health, reentry programs for former prisoners, and affordable prescription drugs. The three-term congressman smashed spending records; he was the largest self-funder of a Senate primary campaign in modern U.S. history.

A day after his loss, Trone declined to speak to reporters, and his campaign said he would have no further comment Wednesday on whether his support for Alsobrooks would include commensurate resources. While Trone has declined to say how much he is worth, Forbes Magazine reported in 2017 that his company, Total Wine & More, had roughly $3 billion in revenue.

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Alsobrooks raised $7.8 million, and in the campaign’s final days she benefitted from a major ad buy from a political action committee affiliated with the pro-women group EMILYs List. One ad blasted Trone for contributing personally and through his business to the campaigns of conservative candidates like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed into law one of the nation’s strictest abortion measures; Trone, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, explained that he needed to protect his businesses and workers in states across the country.

Unlike Trone, Alsobrooks is not independently wealthy. She raised 10 times as much as he did from individuals. She will need a significant war chest to defeat former Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who has twice won statewide in a blue state. And Trone will presumably want to show he is a team player if he wants a future in Maryland politics.

Trone this week stressed the importance of supporting the Democratic nominee for Senate, though he did not say her name, as well as working to reelect President Joe Biden. Trone has generously donated to many Democratic causes and candidates over the years, including the campaigns of many of his congressional colleagues.

“We’ve got to stand together, we’ve got to pull together. We can make a difference. We can’t let them take our country,” Trone said. “Unfortunately, we did not get the results we had hoped for, but that said, we must continue to move forward. Yeah, we’ve got to move forward as a party.”

The Trone-Alsobrooks race divided the party. Many top Democrats coalesced behind Alsobrooks, including Gov. Wes Moore, U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, and U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer and Jamie Raskin. But Trone received endorsements from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, and State Sen. Jill Carter.

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Six former chairs of the Maryland Democratic Party sent out a press release endorsing Alsobrooks and condemning Trone for negative campaigning and problematic gaffes. Trone had to apologize for uttering a racial slur in March during a budget hearing on Capitol Hill. He also cut an ad that featured a local lawmaker saying the U.S. Senate was “not a place for training wheels.” Alsobrooks has no congressional experience, but she has been a state prosecutor and a county executive. Many people interpreted the remark to be dismissive of a Black woman with a long list of accomplishments. And the remark that Alsobrooks’ supporters in Prince George’s were “low-level folks” did not go over well, either.

“David Trone has cast disparaging comments about women, inadvertently uttered racial slurs, and has denigrated public service. He will be challenged in building the statewide unity that is needed to win in November,” they wrote.

The former party chairs were among many to complain about Trone spending so much money on the race. In their letter, they said it was “simply wrong to accept a self-funder is the answer to keeping the Maryland Senate seat blue.” Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller echoed that point at Alsobrooks’ victory party, saying, “Money can’t buy love.” The candidate herself mentioned it often.

“This man’s spent $40 million trying to erase me, and guess what? I’m still here,” she told a crowd of supporters in Upper Marlboro in April, when the tally was smaller but still among the most expensive races in history. “And you know what? We’re gonna win the race in spite of it.”

Trone will continue to serve out the remainder of his term representing the 6th District, which includes Western Maryland and part of Montgomery County.

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Whether or not the money flows, the support will, said many at Trone’s party after he spoke.

Del. Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk of Prince George’s County, a staunch Trone supporter, said she was ready to stand behind Alsobrooks in her bid to succeed Democrat Ben Cardin in the closely divided Senate.

“This is not about us. It’s bigger than us. Hogan cannot win. This is about our community, and this is about women. And Hogan will caucus with the Republicans so we have to come together and put our differences aside and win,” Peña-Melnyk said. “It’s not personal. It’s about the future. I have three kids and I care about their future.”

Rona Kobell is a regional reporter at The Banner focused on Baltimore County.

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