David Trone projected to win reelection in Maryland’s 6th District

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Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) is expected to win his re-election bid, holding off a challenge from Del. Neil C. Parrott (R) in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which for the first time in years emerged as the state’s largest. competitive congressional race, which led Trone to invest millions of his personal fortune in defending the seat.

Parrott called Trone to concede Friday afternoon, both campaigns confirmed, and Trone described the call as “very gracious.”

Trone’s victory gives Democrats another victory in the still-closely-fought battle for control of the U.S. House, which remains unresolved. Republican hopes for a big red wave collapsed dramatically after Democrats defied expectations to hold on to seats in a number of tough districts while avoiding a slew of surprise losses in others, such as Maryland’s 6th , where most political analysts considered Trone the favorite despite Parrott’s spirited challenge.

The rematch between Trone and Parrott was seen as the most exciting congressional race in Maryland, where Parrott hoped a strong grassroots game and broad dissatisfaction with the economy and President Biden could overcome enormous personal wealth and advantage of Throne.

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But after Trone, the co-founder of Total Wine & More, poured more than $12 million of his own money into his campaign, he largely dominated Parrott on the airwaves, painting him as an “extreme” on the ‘abortion and other social issues while he had great latitude to show his personal mission. Trone’s huge financial advantage largely deterred any major investment from national Republicans, leaving Parrott to try to pull off an upset with minimal resources. Parrott had raised roughly $800,000 this year.

Trone had defeated Parrott, an engineer and longtime Maryland delegate, in 2020. But the race became more competitive this year after redistricting made the 6th District redder, thanks in large part to Parrott battles against partisan gerrymandering in Annapolis. He and several Republicans won a lawsuit that resulted in a new congressional map this year that gave Republicans a shot in the western Maryland district.

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But while the district lost some of D.C.’s bluer suburbs, it retained a significant chunk of populous, deep-blue Montgomery County, where Trone beat Parrott, who couldn’t make up the difference despite his apparent popularity. in western Maryland, redder, but less populated. .

Trone took a small lead in the race Thursday night, including in purple Frederick County, after more mail-in ballots were counted and reported. And while thousands remain to be counted, especially in Montgomery, their lead can only be expected to grow. Parrott acknowledged that’s what led him to call Trone to congratulate him on Friday.

Despite the loss, Parrott’s campaign found good results, believing that the “extreme partisan gerrymander” of the previous congressional map has been corrected and Marylanders had a “real say” in who they chose for Congress this year.

“While this was not the result we wanted, it is not a defeat and it is not the end,” Parrott said in a statement. “We unified the Republican Party in Western Maryland. We faced an overwhelming spending deficit that scared national Republicans. We fought — and won — in court to make this district fair and competitive, and people of the Sixth District will never again be taken for granted.”

Trone was first elected in 2018, projecting an image of a centrist who wanted to use his business dealings in Congress to reach bipartisan deals. “You can’t pass a bill on messaging alone. That’s not going to do anything. That’s a waste of my life,” Trone told a room full of Democratic voters in Gaithersburg last month, before breaking down: “So when I go in, I eat chili-cheese dogs with the Republicans. The Democrats: Our wardrobe is mostly veggie burgers.”

In an interview Friday, Trone said he believed a focus on bipartisanship was key to his victory. He also noted that he believed Biden’s agenda attracted more voters than his approval rating polls suggested, and that he did not shy away from running on Biden’s record. He outlined major investments in roads, bridges and broadband, which he said are especially important in Western Maryland, along with investments in clean energy and provisions to lower the cost of prescription drugs and health care for to the elderly in the Inflation Reduction Act. He appeared with Biden in Hagerstown last month to promote the president’s agenda.

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“Even though Biden’s numbers are low, and that’s all people are talking about, I think people are starting to realize that he accomplished incredible, transformative policy in two years with a three-vote majority in the House and without a majority in the Senate.” Trone said. “That record is what I ran. I ran on the president’s record and I think the voters responded.”

Trone became the co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on Addiction and Mental Health, devoting much of his service in Congress to issues that have been personal to him. Her nephew died of a fentanyl-related overdose in 2016, an experience Trone has said made her want to lead bipartisan legislation that would boost mental health and addiction resources to help people struggling with abuse of substances to find treatment. He has also tried to move the criminal justice system away from incarcerating people as a solution to the drug addiction crisis, something that had happened to his nephew.

Some of the local allies he has worked with on this mission appeared in emotional campaign ads for Trone. Western Maryland has had its own challenges with the opioid epidemic, especially in the pandemic. “David believed in us,” Kevin Simmers, who lost his daughter to an overdose and has connected with Trone, said in an announcement. “For every person suffering from a substance abuse disorder, there is no greater champion than David Trone.”

Trone had also told his backstory as a farmer’s son in numerous commercials; He has often told the story of the foreclosure of his father’s farm, seeking to make connections in the rural areas of the district. His work on some agricultural issues in Congress helped Trone gain the support of the Maryland Farm Bureau, along with several other Maryland incumbents. But some Conservative voters were still skeptical. “You see these ads, people would think it’s this country, it’s not even close,” James Parise, a Frederick County constituent who supported Parrott, had said at a rally for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex. ) held by Parrott last time. month. “But that doesn’t mean he didn’t work hard and build a business, Total Wine & More, and fund his campaign.”

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Many conservative voters said they were excited about Parrott’s competitive candidacy considering it’s been a decade since a Republican has represented that region of the state. Parrott, one of the most conservative members of the Maryland state House, galvanized supporters with promises to rein in government spending, close the US-Mexico border, empower parents in their children’s education children and create a “place where life is protected from the beginning”. until the end of life”.

Trone had gone after Parrott’s staunch opposition to abortion in ads that spoke to post-Roe v. Wade concerns about the right to abortion. Parrott, a social conservative who has sought to repeal state legalization of same-sex marriage, had previously spearheaded a proposed 20-week abortion ban and said he would support a 15-week ban in Congress.

But while political analysts considered the reversal of Roe and Parrott’s social conservatism as benefits for Trone on the purple lawn, they also saw Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox as a rub for Parrott, potentially depressing the Republican excitement that would be needed to carry Parrott to victory.

Cox lost to Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D) by more than 20 percentage points.

Trone said Friday that in his third term he planned to continue pushing for major investments in mental health, addiction and medical research aid, while focusing on criminal justice reform.

“We have not solved addiction. We haven’t solved the mental health crisis. We must continue to do much more,” he said.

This report has been updated to add a statement from Parrott and an interview with Trone.

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