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Cardin wins primary over Chelsea Manning, 6 others

‘We need to pass legislation that once and for all says racial profiling is wrong,’ Sen. Ben Cardin said at Tuesday’s briefing. ‘How many more Michael Browns…are going to lose their life? How many Trayvon Martins?’ (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Sen. Ben Cardin handily won the Democratic primary in his bid for a third Senate. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Some incumbent Democrats have felt heat this election cycle as they faced self-styled progressive challengers from the left. Ben Cardin, a popular and well-funded U.S. senator in Maryland, was never one of them.

On Tuesday, Cardin handily won a primary in his bid for a third Senate term, beating convicted leaker Chelsea Manning and six other longshot challengers.

In the GOP primary, Tony Campbell won the nomination to challenge Cardin, triumphing over a crowded field.

In the state’s 6th Congressional District, the only open congressional seat, the co-owner of giant retailer Total Wine & More and a defense consultant will face off after winning their party’s primaries Tuesday.

Businessman David Trone beat seven other candidates in the Democratic race. Amie Hoeber beat three other Republicans. In 2016, she lost in the general election to incumbent Rep. John Delaney, who isn’t running for re-election this year. He’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Two years ago, Trone broke a record as the biggest self-funder for a House candidate. He spent $13.4 million in a failed primary bid for the nearby 8th District congressional seat. He’s reported spending about $10 million of his own money in this race, in the 6th district.

He has highlighted the opioid crisis as a top concern and focused on job creation. He says his business created close to 7,000 jobs in 24 states.

Hoeber served as deputy undersecretary of the Army during former President Ronald Reagan’s administration. She oversaw the Army’s research and development programs and managed environmental cleanup of decommissioned bases. She’s pointed to her defense expertise as a background to help steer defense work to the district, which includes western Maryland and portions of the Washington suburbs.

The district has received particular attention in recent years because of criticism about partisan gerrymandering. It’s been cited as the reason Delaney was able to oust 10-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett in 2012. Democrats who controlled the governorship and legislature redrew the map in 2011 to put more Democrats in the district.

Celebrating in Baltimore, Cardin told The Associated Press he’s humbled by the “overwhelming vote of trust” from Maryland’s Democrats. He was already looking forward to the campaign for November’s general elections. Eleven Republican candidates campaigned for their party’s nomination.

“I’m confident, but I’m going to run a very aggressive campaign, taking nothing for granted,” he said in a phone interview. “I look forward to learning who my Republican opponent will be.”

The Democratic primary was never widely perceived as a competitive contest. There were no debates, few candidate forums and hardly any polling.

Manning, America’s most famous convicted leaker and an internationally-known transgender activist, ran an unorthodox and largely under-the-radar grassroots campaign. Cardin’s highest-profile challenger, Manning sought to gain traction by arguing that the sitting senator had been an establishment Democrat in Washington for so long that he’d lost the plot.

Her candidacy failed to resonate with many voters in a blue state that’s home to federal employees and defense contractors. She made few appearances in Maryland. Her platform included closing prisons, freeing inmates and eliminating national borders. Her major goal was abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.


Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said there was never much of a push to unseat Cardin in Maryland. She said that outside of “some hardcore progressive communities who wanted him out,” Cardin remained popular among state Democrats and was on the progressive side on a number of issues.

Political analysts say Cardin will be a tough candidate to beat in November for more reasons than his campaign war chest — reported at $2.8 million in early June. He has major name recognition in Maryland — he served 20 years in the U.S. House before becoming a senator in 2006 — and his national profile has only grown during the Trump administration.

Cardin said he believes Maryland voters “want a Congress that can stand up to President Trump in regards to the values of this nation.”

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