House races

Candidate who spent $12M loses Md. House race

State Sen. Jamie Raskin is projected to win a crowded House Democratic primary in Maryland, prevailing over a wealthy self-funded rival who spent a record $12 million on the campaign.
Raskin will be all but assured of winning the November general election in the deeply Democratic district in the wealthy D.C. suburbs.
{mosads}Seven-term incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) opted not to run for reelection this cycle in order to vie for the seat vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
Van Hollen’s departure sparked a scramble among area Democrats. A total of nine candidates were on Tuesday’s ballot, but Raskin; Kathleen Matthews, a former local news anchor and Marriott executive; and Total Wine founder David Trone were considered front-runners.
Matthews is also the wife of MSNBC host Chris Matthews. However, her husband largely kept his distance from the campaign trail.
The expensive D.C. media market surrounding the Montgomery County district meant from the beginning that the race would likely be very expensive. But Trone far outpaced his rivals by spending $12 million to blanket the airwaves, spending more to self-fund his campaign than any House candidate in history.
The considerable campaign expenditures by Matthews and Raskin were overshadowed. Matthews spent about $2 million, and Raskin spent $1.2 million. 
Those totals made it the nation’s most expensive House race of the year, even though the district isn’t expected be competitive in November.
Trone’s justification for self-funding his House bid was similar to a central campaign tenet of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump. The billionaire real estate mogul has said he doesn’t have to accept contributions from wealthy special interests in order to compete with his rivals.
Both even tout that they attended the University of Pennsylvania’s famed Wharton business school.
Trone said that if elected, he would advocate for a public campaign finance system but would continue to self-fund any races for another term.
“Campaigns shouldn’t be this expensive,” Trone said in a full-page ad in The Washington Post this month as he argued the media was focusing too much on his wealth.
Before Trone entered the race, Raskin and Matthews had the most name recognition in the community.
Raskin was considered the most progressive candidate in the left-of-center field, having pushed for eliminating the death penalty, restoring voting rights for people convicted of felonies and lowering the minimum voting age while in the state Senate. Raskin is also married to Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin.
Matthews, meanwhile, tried to shed an image that she is part of the D.C. establishment and bristled at Trone’s description of her as a “local media celebrity” in the Washington Post ad. 
“It is a derogatory term and, as a working mom, I find it offensive and uncalled for,” Matthews wrote in an open letter to Trone.
Trone had been active in Democratic politics before launching his House campaign, having hosted multiple big-dollar fundraisers for the party over the years. His campaign website notes that he hosted a fundraiser with President Obama in November that was “one of the largest DNC [Democratic National Committee] fundraisers of the year.”
Matthews and Raskin both accused Trone of trying to buy his way to victory. Matthews said that Trone was attempting to “buy a congressional seat, as if it’s a fine bottle of wine.” 
And Raskin said at a debate last month that “public office isn’t something that you buy; it’s something that you earn through your devotion to the public good and your service to the community.”
Tags Barbara Mikulski Donald Trump Maryland

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