Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has won Maryland’s Democratic Senate primary on Tuesday, NBC News projects, defeating self-funding Rep. David Trone after a bitter and expensive campaign

Alsobrooks will now face a competitive general election race in the deep blue state against Republican Larry Hogan, the popular former two-term governor. If she wins, Alsobrooks will become the state’s first Black senator. 

“What we know is that Maryland has been a blue state, but it will only stay a blue state if we put in the work,” Alsobrooks told the crowd at her primary victory party Tuesday night. “Because Larry Hogan, his BFF Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump’s Republican Party want to flip this seat.”

Trone spent at least $61 million of his own money on his campaign, tapping his personal fortune as founder of the Total Wine & More retail chain to set a self-funding record for a candidate in a primary election. But Alsobrooks found momentum in the closing stretch of the race, leveraging endorsements from high-profile Maryland officials and building grassroots support. 

She also got a late boost on the airwaves from a super PAC tied to EMILY’s List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights. The money helped to close the massive ad-spending gap in Trone’s favor — from more than 13-to-1 before EMILY’s List started spending to 2-to-1 in Trone’s favor in the final days of the campaign.

“It has been really important to have their support, and we’ve had their financial support,” Alsobrooks told NBC News last week. “But we’ve also had support of talking to people, helping us to grow our grassroots coalition, which is how, by the way, we’re gonna win this race.”

Alsobrooks touted some of her major endorsements, launching an ad featuring Gov. Wes Moore, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Jamie Raskin, who said they are backing Alsobrooks “because we know her record and we believe in her vision.”

Meanwhile, Trone embraced how his wealth transformed his candidacy, arguing it helped him stay independent from big donors and would allow him to spend whatever Democrats needed to defeat Hogan in the fall. But his massive wallet turned out to be a double-edged sword — some Maryland voters told NBC News that Trone’s self funding turned them off from voting for him. 

On top of the more than $61 million he spent on his unsuccessful Senate race, Trone had also given his House campaigns about $46 million between 2015 and 2022 — including $13 million on his first, unsuccessful, bid for the House.

Hogan is a top recruit for Republicans looking to put the race in play, albeit a reluctant one.

“I must have said no like 50 times,” Hogan said of his decision to run in a recent interview with NBC News. He ultimately decided to jump in the race after a bipartisan proposal tying border security measures with aid for funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan stalled.

“It fell apart because people on the right of my party in the House were against it, and I’m going down to the fight against those people,” Hogan said.

Hogan said he was hesitant to run given the gridlock that often grinds Congress to a halt.

“I don’t really think it’s gonna be a lot of fun. But I think I’m uniquely qualified to make a difference,” Hogan said.

“I’m concerned about the country and frankly, the extremes of both sides,” Hogan later added. “And I think we need more decent people that are kind of between —  the right of center, left of center, moderates who are willing to try to work with people across the aisle to get things done. I just think it’s what’s lacking in Washington.”

A vocal critic of Trump, Hogan acknowledged he’ll have an uphill climb in a state that traditionally backs Democrats for federal office, noting, “The top of the ticket is probably not going to do that well.” President Joe Biden won Maryland by 33 percentage points in 2020.

Democrats are expected to attempt to tie Hogan to the national Republican Party, especially on the abortion issue. Hogan said he would not support a national abortion ban, calling the suggestion that he would be a deciding vote on the issue a “false attack.”

Hogan referenced the abortion issue during his victory speech Tuesday night, saying, “To the women of Maryland: You have my word that I will continue to protect your right to make your own reproductive health decisions.”

Alsobrooks noted abortion is a major issue for Marylanders and for her.

“I don’t want my daughter to have to decide where to live in this country based on where she will have freedoms and rights that I had. And so this is so personal for me,” Alsobrooks said. 

“We recognize that Maryland is in the middle of it, that a vote for Larry Hogan, for example would be a vote for this Republican. And I know he’s going to be voting with the Republican caucus,” Alsobrooks later added. “So this is a really scary fight and we’re going to win.”

Alsobrooks also brought up the abortion issue at her primary victory party, saying Hogan would hand Republicans control of the Senate and the power to pass a national abortion ban. She chided Hogan for vetoing a measure as governor that would have expanded abortion access in the state and for saying abortion is “emotional issue for women across Maryland and across the country.”

“Come November, Larry Hogan will understand that we do not need any help at all managing our emotions,” Alsobrooks said Tuesday night.

Outside of Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia also held presidential and down-ballot primaries Tuesday, while primary runoff elections took place in North Carolina.

GOP steps toward Senate pickup in West Virginia

Republicans are expected to have a far easier time picking up a Senate seat in West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is retiring.

GOP Gov. Jim Justice won his party’s Senate primary on Tuesday, NBC News projected.

Justice, who was prevented from running for governor again due to term limits, won the backing of Trump and the GOP establishment. Pro-Justice super PACs ultimately spent more than $6 million on the airwaves to boost his candidacy.

But despite the Trump endorsement, Justice’s top opponent, Rep. Alex Mooney, remained undeterred, receiving a significant boost on the airwaves from the conservative Club for Growth, which spent $1.8 million on his behalf.

Now that Justice is the GOP nominee, he’s expected to cruise to victory in the fall over Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott and flip the seat for Republicans. Manchin has been seen as one of the only Democrats still able to win a statewide election in West Virginia, which has seen a massive political transformation in recent years.

The nasty and hard-fought West Virginia GOP gubernatorial primary to replace Justice has also come to a close, with NBC News projecting Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will win his party’s nod.

Morrissey has served as the state’s attorney general since he won election in 2012 and is now the overwhelming favorite to take over in the governor’s mansion next year. He will face Huntington Democratic Mayor Steve Williams in the general election.

Morrissey waded through a crowded primary that included two statewide officeholders, Morrisey and Secretary of State Mac Warner, and two children of West Virginia Republican members of Congress — former state Rep. Moore Capito, the son of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, and businessman Chris Miller, the son of Rep. Carol Miller.

The attack ads were brutal — one compared Morrisey to a “pig,” others castigated transgender people and accused candidates of being aligned with the LGBT community. And Morrisey faced criticism for his past pharmaceutical lobbying in a state hit hard by the opioid crisis.

But Morrisey, backed by the Club for Growth, pointed to his record as attorney general to pitch himself as the proven conservative candidate in the race and labeling the attacks against him as part of the “swamp,” all while a well-funded outside group blasted his opponents as not sufficiently conservative.

In West Virginia’s 2nd District, which Mooney vacated to run for Senate, GOP state Treasurer Riley Moore is projected to win his party’s nomination. Moore, the nephew of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, is the heavy favorite in the Republican-leaning seat over Democrat Steven Wendelin.

House Republican incumbents fend off primary challenges

Two Republican members of Congress beat back primary challenges on Tuesday.

Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., prevailed in her primary over former state lawmaker Derrick Evans, who was convicted of a felony for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

And Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., fended off a primary challenger from his right, defeating businessman Dan Frei in the Omaha-based 2nd District.

Bacon is one of 17 Republicans representing a district Biden won in 2020, so his victory is likely welcome news for those in the party tasked with keeping the House majority. Bacon received some help on the airwaves from the nonprofit arm of one of those groups, Congressional Leadership Fund.

Frei had support from House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., and the Nebraska Republican Party. But Bacon and an allied super PAC funded by Nebraska GOP Sen. Pete Ricketts far outspent Frei in the race.

Bacon, a retired Air Force brigadier general, will face a rematch against Democratic state Sen. Tony Vargas, who lost to Bacon by 3 points in 2022. Democrats are optimistic about defeating Bacon in a presidential election year, with abortion expected to be a top issue for voters.

The district also plays an outsized role in the presidential race, since Nebraska awards an electoral vote to the candidate who wins each of its three congressional districts. Biden picked up one electoral vote from the 2nd District 2020, winning it by 7 points.

Both Republican senators in Nebraska also won their primaries easily despite dissent from within the state party, which declined to endorse or backed a challenger against every sitting member of the congressional delegation.

Ricketts, who was appointed to his seat last year after Sen. Ben Sasse’s resignation, overcame a primary against military veteran John Glen Weaver, who won the state party’s endorsement. The Republican former governor will face adjunct professor Preston Love Jr., as he runs in a special election to serve the final two years of Sasse’s term.

Meanwhile, Sen. Deb Fischer won her primary easily. Democrats did not field a challenger against Fischer, who instead will face Independent Dan Osborn, a union organizer, in November as she seeks another six-year term.

Former Capitol Police officer loses House primary

Former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn lost a hard-fought Democratic primary to Maryland state Sen. Sarah Elfreth in the state’s 3rd District, NBC News projects. 

Dunn gained prominence after Jan. 6 riots, where he was one of the hundreds of police officers defending the Capitol from a pro-Trump mob. After appearing on television and delivering testimony during the House hearings investigating the attack, Dunn jumped into the race and became a prolific fundraiser with the backing of prominent Democrats like former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But Dunn had never run for elected office before, and lives about nine miles from the district he sought to represent. Elfreth, who has represented part of the district in the state Assembly since her election in 2018, played up her legislative experience on the trail.

She also received a boost from a pro-Israel super PAC that spent more than $3.5 million in ads on her behalf, spending that sparked debate in the race over the group’s support from some GOP donors. Elfreth will be heavily favored to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes in the Annapolis-area district that leans Democratic.

In the state’s 6th District, which Trone vacated in his unsuccessful Senate bid, former deputy assistant commerce Secretary April McLain Delaney (the wife of former Rep. John Delaney) is projected to win the Democratic primary. She will face off against former Republican state Del. Neil Parrott, who is projected to defeat 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox.

In the state’s blue-leaning 2nd District, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is projected to win the Democratic primary. He aims to replace the retiring Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, and will face Kimberly Klacik, a pro-Trump radio personality who was the GOP nominee in a different Maryland congressional district in 2020.

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