The Mysterious Maryland U.S. Senate Primary

For a race that is so competitive and so important, there is a lot that doesn’t add up: my final pre-primary-day analysis

Yes, I am using my own news website to promote my candidacy and ideas I am putting forth as a candidate for U.S. Senate for Maryland and I won’t apologize for it!

By Brian E. Frydenborg (Twitter @bfry1981, Threads @bfchugginalongLinkedInFacebook, Substack with exclusive informal content) May 13 2024; see and all of Brian’s Maryland U.S. Senate race coverage here; because of YOU, Real Context News surpassed one million content views on January 1, 2023but I still need your help, please keep sharing my work and consider also donating! Real Context News produces commissioned content for clients upon request at its discretion. Note: all poll numbers and poll margins are rounded to nearest whole numbers unless otherwise indicated.

SILVER SPRING—Analysts say Maryland could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.  One of the two frontrunners—U.S. House Representative David Trone—has spent more money by far than any candidate in U.S. Senate History (over $61 million of his own money so far).  The other frontrunner—Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks—would be only the fourth black female U.S. senator in U.S. history (and only the third elected) and has spent nearly three decades in Maryland politics.

And yet there was only one televised debate this whole race, (three weeks ago, only about 45 minutes when you factor in commercials, with short answers).  In the five debates I participated in:

  • None of those debates were televised
  • Alsobrooks was there for all five, Trone just the first
  • Only one had a high quality recording produced by the actual organizers of the debate (the last one, at Angela Alsobrooks’s own church and moderated by famous sports broadcaster Lou Holder; this debate received no press coverage!); several had official recordings so bad they were difficult to understand and only had decent from video taken by one of the campaigns.  With one debate, the one at Baltimore’s New Psalmist Baptist Church, one Pete French of the church decided to withhold its recording, even after I pressed him personally to release it to the public.
  • One debate received no press coverage (as mentioned), two only received local coverage: one in Frederick from the Frederick News-Post, one in Baltimore from Afro News (I stood out in both articles and received substantial coverage in both); only the first debate with Trone was covered by more than one outlet (so of five debates, one received no coverage, three received coverage from just one newspaper, one from more than one, not including my own coverage).
  • Several of the debates were very sparsely attended.

Some questions:

  • Why was only one-second tier campaign meticulous about recording these five debates?
  • Why did neither of the frontrunners’ campaigns, each with millions of dollars, ensure they had their own recordings of debates?
  • Why did none of the local TV stations cover these debates?
  • Why was there such precious little media coverage in general of these debates, nor even more profiles or interviews with the candidates?
  • For a statewide race, why were county local political organizations left to organize debates and not the state party at all?
  • For a statewide race, why didn’t state and local party organizations cross-promote these events (we are talking a few social media posts, e-mails, and listing on calendars)?
  • Why was there only one independent credible non-internal poll for the entire last month of the race?
  • Why did some church official appoint it to himself to block the release of a high quality recording of a debate and why did other campaigns not demand its release?

The answers are that Maryland Democratic Party leaders did not want to have a highly publicized series of debates because they had mostly aligned behind Alsobrooks and did not want two leading Democrats in the state to damage each other too much, nor did they want any other voices—such as mine—crowding a race that they wanted to be a coronation for Alsobrooks, with Trone’s success ruining their plan and them sticking to the do-nothing minimalist approach.  This was a nervous approach that betrayed any sense of transparency or openness for the primary and one that suggested they were fearful of what a more competitive primary might do to the standing of their chosen candidate.  They were likely banking on certain big endorsements (Gov. Wes Moore, superstar U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, Sen. Van Hollen, the Washington Post) getting her across the finish line with undecided voters, which may be exactly what is happening if the most recent poll is a good sense of where the race is.

But with so little polling in this race and especially with only one single independent poll during the final month (as of the writing of this article, literally just one non-internal poll from Emerson, with an internal partisan poll funded by an organization backing Alsobrooks and therefore not nearly as credible surprisingly mirroring the result the Emerson poll).  Prior to that Emerson poll, four independent polls had Trone handily defeating Alsobrooks (including an Emerson poll in February), one poll had him tied with Hogan and her losing to Hogan, and both lost in all other polling, but there has been nothing for a month until this second Emerson poll, which gives Alsobrooks a slight lead within the margin of error and both double-digit leads over Hogan.

One. Non-biased. Data. Point. In. A. Month.  Only one poll with either beating Hogan.

So basically?  Who the hell knows what’s going to happen.

I trust Emerson, but I never make broad conclusions on a single poll.  But what we should conclude is that the race has tightened, is probably close, and it’s hard to know who will win tomorrow.  Momentum is clearly with Alsobrooks, but there is also clearly low early-voter turnout, which could mean a good result for Trone who has dominated the early polling and airwaves.  So, it’s a wash.

As for me, it’s virtually impossible for me to win.  But in the poll in which I was included, while never leading for third place, I was always in the margin of error for third place

So vote for me!  Why?  I have seen the strengths and weaknesses of these candidates up close and in person.  They are doing better than before, but Larry Hogan is a tough, top-tier, A-list opponent: the best Republicans could possibly wish for.  I remember when Scott Brown won as a Republican for U.S. Senate in the Obama era in freakin’ Massachusetts.  The arrogance and taking-voters-for-granted attitude I have seen has not impressed me.  They can do better.   I’ve been the only candidate to seriously challenge them and elevating me to third will send the right message.

Until the last Emerson poll, neither Alsobrooks nor Trone had beaten Larry Hogan in a single independent poll.  In the last, they won by 10 and 11 points, respectively.  But Larry Hogan has barely started campaigning, barely spent any money, and barely gotten media coverage during his GOP primary, in which he is dominating and which is not competitive.  Bottom line is, Hogan can more can bounce back if that Emerson poll is accurate (and, again, I believe it roughly is).

And now I’m going to tell you the weaknesses of both Trone and Alsobrooks.

Trone has spent an insane amount of money: over $61 million of his own money.  He should be dominating this race, then, whether Alsobrooks and Hogan.  But now Alsobrooks is ahead in the latest poll (by a bit) and he has only led Hogan in one independent poll.  He is also an older straight white man at a time when that tends to not generate much enthusiasm among the Democratic electorate.

But Alsobrooks should also be winning easily.  Unlike Trone, who has been in Maryland politics for just five years, Alsobrooks has been a fixture in Maryland politics for nearly three decades and has the endorsements of Gov. Moore, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Sen. Van Hollen, and The Washington Post.  She should have been ahead the whole time in Maryland, especially as an African-American woman in a state with the largest black population proportionately outside of the South. And for a candidate who struggled with name recognition and was behind in the polls, sitting on $3.1 million at the end of 2023 and about $3.2 million at the end of April was simply not the right strategy; even if she wins, had that money been spend on advertising earlier and therefore shaped the race more, she’d have won by a larger margin.

That so many Democrats are doubtful of either candidate shows that they have a lot of room for improvement, especially against a Larry Hogan who left office as governor of Maryland with an 81% approval from Democrats.

And for both frontrunners: there is no reason I should have more specific plans on my site than both of them, and that is the case.  They are applying to be one of two legislators for Maryland in the U.S. Senate and cannot even post detailed legislative proposals on their site.

I will gladly support whoever becomes the nominee, but both campaigns have been dismissive of the threat Hogan poses in the era of fighting against Trump’s MAGA insurrectionist fascism.  Such hubris is not a path to victory, and these campaigns need to understand their weaknesses and address them.  Vote for me to send a message: we cannot afford to lose Ben Cardin’s seat to Republicans and these campaigns needs to listen more to outside voices like mine.

Now is the time to raise my candidacy to be an integral part of this race, now is the time to spread the word, now is the time to donate to my campaign, now is the time to really get things going.

See related articles Frydenborg Holds His Own Against Alsobrooks in Baltimore Maryland U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Debate, but Will It Matter & Why Won’t Local Media Cover this Race Properly?, Maryland U.S. Democratic Primary Debate Raises Questions on Frontrunners’ & Party’s Readiness to Take on Hogan. Can Frydenborg Emerge As Third Option? and Petty Feuding Between Trone and Alsobrooks Does Not Honor Ben Cardin’s Legacy. Vote for Me Instead! And see all of Brian’s Maryland U.S. Senate race coverage here as well as Brian’s official campaign website.

© 2024 Brian E. Frydenborg all rights reserved, permission required for republication, attributed quotations welcome

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