David Trone’s first day as a candidate didn’t go quite as well as I’m sure he would have hoped. In an interview with the Post about his $150,000 in campaign donations to Republican officeholders around the country ($90,000 went to Democrats), Trone went for realism a la Donald Trump.
Trone, who became the eighth entrant into the Democratic field earlier this week, said the contributions represented the cost of doing business, especially in states with Republican-controlled state houses and governor’s mansions.
“I sign my checks to buy access,” he said in an interview Thursday. Trone said that he did not believe the contributions undercut his legitimacy as a Democratic candidate. Of the Republicans he has financed, he said: “We disagree categorically with their political positions on everything social and economic.”
Trone has promised to largely self-fund his campaign, limiting individual contributions to $10 and refusing donations from PACs or lobbyists.
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Much of his money went toward initiatives to gain broader markets for beer and wine consumption. In North Carolina, for example, he supported a successful push a decade ago to raise the limit on the alcohol content of beer, opening the way for sales of popular craft beers. In 2012, McCrory, who has received $8,000 from Trone, signed into law legislation allowing retailers to sell “growlers,” or 64-ounce jugs for beer. Trone has also spent heavily to gain advantage in the lucrative Texas market, donating $8,941 to Abbott, $15,000 to Patrick, and $11,000 to Republican Attorney General Kenneth Paxton.
“I’ve passed more laws than most politicians,” he said in an interview Wednesday, later correcting himself to say that he had lobbied to pass numerous laws.
He’s not wrong - this is how the game is played. You want things done in many areas of this country, you pay for access and you pay more for results. Is it fair? No. Does it produce good policy? No again.
But blunt truth telling aside, that’s not what a self-funding wealthy businessman should be saying on his first day as a congressional candidate. Not in CD8. Especially not in CD8. A wide swath of our electorate is averse to money in politics - any money. Not everyone is quite so puritanical, but a Day 1 brutal reality check was probably not called for either. At a minimum, Trone should have tempered his exposé with something along the lines of “this system is bad, and I will work to change it.”
Let’s see how the next few days go for Trone. He’s sure gotten the attention of the other candidates in the race.