Trone begins buying broadcast ads on WUSA9 and NBC4

District 6 congressional candidate David Trone, co-owner of Total Wine & More, is taking his campaign’s message to broadcast TV. Trone spent nearly $80,000 on ads that are running on shows that air on NBC4 and WUSA9, the local CBS affiliate in the region, from March 28 through April 3.

Trone’s ad buy is the first among any federal candidates in the Washington region on any of the major over-the-air networks—NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC—in the 2018 election cycle, according to Federal Communications Commission records. Trone spent $56,300 on 42 spots scheduled to air on national and local NBC newscasts as well as The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Trone also paid $23,400 for 38 spots that will air on CBS newscasts and shows such as The Price is Right and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

An ad that Bethesda Beat spotted on NBC4’s Wednesday night newscast focused on Trone, a Democrat, talking about losing the family farm and employee policies he put in place at Total Wine such as hiring ex-offenders.

The campaign declined to comment on its ad purchasing. It has also bought ads on cable TV, YouTube and Facebook as well as some digital news websites (including Bethesda Beat.)

The farm was a focus of Trone’s advertising effort in his unsuccessful 2016 campaign for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat, now held by Rep. Jamie Raskin. Trone spent about $13.4 million of his own money on that campaign, which ran hundreds of TV and radio ads to try to generate support.

Trone is facing state Del. Aruna Miller (D-Darnestown), state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring), veteran Andrew Duck of Frederick County, pediatrician Nadia Hashimi of Potomac, aerospace executive Christopher Hearsey of Gaithersburg, retired federal economist George English of Kensington and small business owner Chris Graves of Montgomery Village in the Democratic primary on June 26.

On Thursday, Miller’s campaign announced she had received the endorsement of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand, who has been growing her national profile by opposing the Trump administration, said in a statement that she’s backing Miller because of the delegate’s work to protect women and children from abusers, her support of paid sick leave policies in Maryland and her lobbying for computer science classes in public high schools.

Andrew Metcalf


Raskin travels to Middle East as member of congressional delegation headed by Pelosi

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Takoma Park, returns late Friday from a week-long congressional trip to Israel and Jordan—where he spent the first part of Congress’ Easter Recess traveling as a member of delegation headed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

The delegation held separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah in what Pelosi’s office—in a press release issued as the legislators departed last weekend—described as a mission “focusing on global and regional security and cooperation issues.” The trip coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel, the release noted.

The delegation also met with the Parent Circle Families Forum, an organization of Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost family members in the country’s continuing strife—and is seeking reconciliation between the two sides. In Jordan, the congressional delegation was “particularly interested in reviewing the Syrian refugee and humanitarian challenges,” Pelosi said in her press release.

About half of the 11 House members on the trip serve on panels with jurisdiction over national security and foreign intelligence issues—including Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democratic member on the Intelligence Committee. Schiff has had a high media profile in recent months on issues relating to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Raskin is one of three freshmen House members in the delegation; the other two, Reps. Donald McEachin of Virginia and Jimmy Panetta of California, serve on the Armed Services Committee. By comparison, Raskin serves on three panels—Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and House Administration—and none of his committee or subcommittee assignments involve foreign policy issues.

Rather, Raskin’s presence on the trip—his first overseas as a member of Congress since his election in 2016—appears in part to reflect an increasingly close relationship between the freshman legislator and the House Democratic leadership.

Besides Pelosi, the delegation includes three other members of the Democratic leadership:  Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, a co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee (on which Raskin is the freshman class representative); Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, a co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (and a colleague of Raskin’s on the Judiciary Committee); and Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who holds the title of chief deputy whip. Both DeLauro and Schakowsky are long-time close associates of Pelosi.

Raskin’s immediate predecessor representing the 8th Congressional District, now-Sen. Chris Van Hollen, was also a close associate of Pelosi: She named Van Hollen as chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, and, two years later, gave Van Hollen the added title of assistant to the House speaker.

Pelosi, who has been the House Democratic leader since 2002, held the speaker’s post from 2006 to 2010, when her party lost the House majority. She is hoping to again assume the speakership in 2018, when the Democrats are given a competitive chance of regaining the majority.

Louis Peck


Ranked choice voting bill falls short, but backers say coming election may give it a boost

As has been the case on several occasions in recent years, a bill to authorize Montgomery County election officials to utilize so-called “ranked choice voting” emerged from the county’s 24-member House delegation earlier this year with a favorable recommendation.

And, as has also been the case in the past, that’s as far as it progressed in the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly—due to adjourn a week from Monday.

But some supporters of the measure say the huge field of County Council at-large candidates in this year’s June 26 primary may give the proposal a boost when the legislature reconvenes in 2019.

“In prior years, a lot of people said, ‘What problem is this going to solve? I don’t understand why we need to do this’,” Del. David Moon observed. “This year, with 33 or so candidates running for council, suddenly it’s ‘OK, maybe we need to take a closer look at this.’ ”

Moon is a resident of Takoma Park, one of a handful of cities nationwide—including Minneapolis and San Francisco—where ranked choice voting is now utilized in local elections.

In this year’s bill—sponsored by Dels. Eric Luedtke of Burtonsville and Marice Morales of Silver Spring and Sen. Cheryl Kagan of Rockville—ranked choice voting was defined as “a method of casting and tabulating votes in which voters rank candidates in order of preference, and votes are tabulated in a manner that reflects voter preference.”

For ranked choice voting in elections with multiple contenders, as explained by Minneapolis officials, “candidates with no mathematical possibility of winning are defeated, and votes from those candidates are transferred to the next ranked candidate on those ballots. When a candidate reaches the required threshold and is declared elected, that candidate’s surplus votes … are distributed proportionately to the next ranked candidates on the ballots of the elected candidate.”

Supporters contend the end result is that successful candidates have a greater base of support—and increased legitimacy.

“You could have members of the County Council elected with as little as 10 percent of the primary vote, and given that primary voters are not all of the voters in the county, you’re talking about a very small portion of the electorate determining who will be on  the council,” Luedtke said of this year’s primary. “And that’s cause for serious concern.” He predicted the crowded Democratic field in the council at-large race “will create some momentum for change.”

While this year’s measure was introduced as a “local bill”—meaning it would have applied only to Montgomery County elections—sources suggested it ran into resistance from legislators from other areas of the state reluctant to open the door to such changes in their respective jurisdictions.

Louis Peck

Editor’s Note – Correction – An earlier version of the first item had said Trone’s family sold the family farm, but it in fact lost it to the bank. The post has been updated.