David Trone is up for re-election in Maryland's 6th District

David Trone is up for re-election in Maryland’s 6th District

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

Parrott called on Trone to concede Friday afternoon, both campaigns were upheld.

Trone’s victory earns Democrats one more victory in the still-close battle for control of the U.S. House, which remains unresolved. Republican hopes of a Great Red Wave crumbled dramatically after Democrats defied expectations to cling to seats in many tough districts while avoiding tons of upset surprises in others, like 6th of Maryland, where most political analysts considered Trone the favorite despite Parrott’s fiery challenge.

The rematch between Trone and Parrott was considered Maryland’s most exciting congressional race, where Parrott hoped for a strong base game and broad discontent with the economy and President Biden could dominate the huge personal wealth and the benefit of the holder of the Throne.

But, after Trone, the co-founder of Total Wine & More, poured more than $12 million of his money into his campaign, he largely dominated Parrott on the airwaves, describing him as ‘extreme’ on abortion. and other social problems while having great latitude to enhance his personal mission. Trone’s enormous financial advantage largely deterred any major investment by National Republicans, leaving Parrott to attempt to bring about an upheaval with minimal resources. Parrott had raised around $800,000 that year.

Trone had routed Parrott, a longtime engineer and delegate from Maryland, in 2020. But the race has become more competitive this year after redistricting made the 6th District redder – thanks in large part to Parrott’s personal crusades against partisan gerrymandering in Annapolis. He and several other Republicans won a lawsuit that led to a new Congressional map this year that gave Republicans a shot in the Western District of Maryland.

But even as the district lost bluer DC suburbs, it retained a significant chunk of deep blue, populated Montgomery County, where Trone crushed Parrott, who couldn’t make up the difference despite his apparent popularity in redder – but less populated – Western Maryland.

Trone took a narrow lead in the race late Thursday night, including in purple Frederick County, after more mail-in ballots were counted and reported. And with thousands left to count – especially in Montgomery – his lead is only 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 silver linings, believing the “extreme partisan gerrymander” of the previous Congressional map has been corrected and Marylanders have had a “real say” over who they elect. for Congress this year.

“While this is not the outcome we wanted, this is not a loss and this is not the end,” Parrott said in a statement. “We united the Republican Party in Western Maryland. We faced a crushing spending disadvantage that spooked national Republicans. We fought — and won — in court to make this district fair and competitive, and that the people of the Sixth District will never again be taken for granted.”

Trone was first elected in 2018, projecting an image as a centrist willing to use his trade chops in Congress to strike bipartisan deals. “You can’t just adopt an invoice with only messages. It won’t do anything. It’s a waste of life,” Trone told a roomful of Democratic voters in Gaithersburg last month, before snapping: “So here I go, eat the chili cheese dogs with the Republicans. The Democrats – our locker room is mostly veggie burgers.

He became co-chair of the bipartisan Mental Health and Addiction Task Force, devoting much of his congressional service to issues that were personal to him. His nephew died of a fentanyl-related overdose in 2016, an experience Trone said made him want to lead bipartisan legislation bolstering mental health and addictions resources to help people struggling with addiction find a life. treatment. He also sought to stop the criminal justice system from jailing people as a solution to the drug addiction crisis, which happened with his nephew.

Some of the local allies he worked with on this mission appeared in emotive commercials 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 connected with Trone, said in an announcement. “For every person who suffers from substance abuse disorders, there is no greater champion than David Trone.”

Trone had also spoken about his backstory as a farmer’s son in numerous commercials; he often told the story of seizing his father’s farm, seeking to forge ties in the rural areas of the district. His work on some farm issues in Congress helped Trone gain the support of Maryland’s Farm Bureau, as well as several other Maryland incumbents. But some conservative voters were still skeptical. “You see these ads, people would think he’s this country slicker – it’s not even close,” said a Frederick County voter rooting for Parrott, James Parise, at the rally Cruz organized for him. last month. “But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worked hard to build a company, Total Wine & More, and it’s funding his campaign.”

Many conservative voters said they were excited about Parrott’s competitive bid, given that it’s been a decade since a Republican has represented that area of ​​the state. Parrott, one of the most conservative members of the Maryland State House, pumped up his supporters by pledging to limit government spending, close the US-Mexico border, hold parents accountable for their children’s education and to create a “place where life is protected from the beginning”. until the end of life. »

Trone had gone after Parrott’s fierce opposition to abortion in ads that spoke to post-roe deer concerns about abortion rights. Parrott, a social conservative who has sought to repeal the state’s legalization of same-sex marriage, previously led a proposal for a 20-week abortion ban and said he would support a 15-week ban in Congress.

But as political analysts contemplated the reversal of roe deer and Parrott’s social conservatism as benefits for Trone in purple turf, they also saw Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox as a drag on Parrott, potentially depressing the Republican excitement that would be needed to carry Parrott to victory.

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

This article has been updated to add a statement from Parrott.

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