State Roundup: Key Bridge replacement estimate tops $1.7B; Trone self-funding makes history; Vignarajah out of B’more mayor’s race

State Roundup: Key Bridge replacement estimate tops $1.7B; Trone self-funding makes history; Vignarajah out of B’more mayor’s race

There were more signs than voters at an early voting place in Columbia Thursday, the first day of early voting. photo

KEY BRIDGE REBUILD, TARGETED FOR 2028, ESTIMATED AT $1.7B TO $1.9B: Maryland transportation officials said Thursday that they expect to replace the Francis Scott Key Bridge with a new span in just over four years. The project to replace the span of Interstate 695 by fall of 2028 is estimated to cost between $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld said Thursday. Dan Belson/The Baltimore Sun.

  • The replacement for the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which opened in 1977, will be designed to meet modern safety standards and will not be vulnerable to collapse if a single component fails, Wiedefeld said. Its towers may also be placed farther apart to give ships a bigger buffer, he said. Michael Laris and Erin Cox/The Washington Post.

AS CARDIN, SARBANES LEAVE CONGRESS, THEY GIVE THE LOWDOWN: Members of Congress don’t feel much better about their workplace than many Americans. To understand why, we ask the same eight questions to House and Senate members in both parties who are on the way out – including Marylanders Ben Cardin and John Sarbanes, looking for patterns and prescriptions to get a handle on the place. Corruption, money, perks, frustrations, solutions — hear what they said about it all. Amanda Su/New York Times.

CROWDED DEM SENATE FIELD, BUT FOCUS ONLY ON TWO: Exactly a year and a day after Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Baltimore) announced on May 1, 2023, that he would not seek another term – ending an 18-year tenure in the Senate and 58 consecutive years in public office – early voting got underway Thursday in both parties to choose his successor. The focus is on the 10-candidate Democratic primary, which is effectively a contest between Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and U.S. Rep. David Trone. Louis Peck/MoCo 360.

TRONE BECOMES LARGEST SELF-FUNDER IN SENATE RACE HISTORY: In a three-and-a-half-week period in April, U.S. Rep. David Trone poured another $12.35 million in personal funds into his bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate – bringing to an eye-popping $54.12 million the extent to which he has dug into his own pocket to fund his campaign since launching it a year ago. Louis Peck/MoCo 360.

  • In her report, also filed Thursday, Angela Alsobrooks said she has spent $5.9 million on the race. She has raised $7.8 million and reported having $1.9 million on hand. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is running in the Republican primary, reported raising $1.1 million between April 1 and April 24. Jeff Barker/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Trone has become the biggest self-funder in a U.S. Senate race in history. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

SENATE GOP PRIMARY JUST WAITING FOR THE MAIN EVENT: Despite a field of more than a half-dozen candidates, the Republican primary for U.S. Senate has lacked the heat of its Democratic counterpart. The field of seven Republicans includes a former two-term governor, a candidate running his 22nd campaign, and another who was his party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in 2022. Of those, former Gov. Larry Hogan and Robin Ficker, a disbarred attorney and former state delegate, have moved to the head of the pack by virtue of fundraising and television ad campaigns. Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

3rd DISTRICT CANDIDATE FORUM: River Hill High School Young Democrats are holding a town hall for candidates in the 3rd Congressional District Monday evening, 6-8 p.m. Confirmed candidates are Sen. Clarence Lam, Aisha Khan, Del. Terri Hill, Don Quinn, Del. Mark Chang, John Morse, Abigail Diehl. Seating limited so you must register in advance. 

ELFRETH GETS THE MAGA TREATMENT; MIKULSKI BACKS ALSOBROOKS: State Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) probably never imagined that she’d be referred to as a MAGA candidate. But that’s exactly what one of her opponents in the 3rd District Democratic congressional primary is doing. And, Maryland’s first and only woman U.S. senator, Barbara Mikulski (D), is backing the candidate trying to become Maryland’s next woman U.S. senator this year, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D). Josh Kurtz and Bryan Sears/Maryland Matters.

CHANG STARS AS BOND IN 3rd DISTRICT RACE AD: As if there weren’t enough options in the 22-candidate Democratic primary in the 3rd congressional district, James Bond has now entered the race. Sort of. Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel), one of the 22 — and one of five state lawmakers in the primary — is launching his first TV ad of the campaign and it’s an amusing parody of the James Bond movie series with Chang, of course, in the iconic starring role. Josh Kurtz and William Ford/Maryland Matters.

OPINION: A MORE DEMOCRATIC WAY TO VOTE: Twenty-five thousand. That’s the magic number of votes, thereabouts, that one of the 22 Democrats running for Congress in the 3rd District needs to collect by 8 p.m. on May 14 to be the presumptive winner. Not just in the primary. In November. … I find myself wondering if there isn’t a better way. Maybe, just maybe, it’s ranked choice voting. Rick Hutzell/The Baltimore Banner.

CHINA TODAY: Maryland Reporter’s Len Lazarick is again teaching a short personal development course on China, this time at Montgomery College’s Lifelong Learning Institute in Rockville. It takes place on the four Thursdays in June at 2 p.m. The course is based on Len’s 30 years of dealing with China and Chinese journalists. It is combination of lecture, videos and discussion. It is designed for people who know little about China or may have been to China and would like to learn more.  It will examine the last 150 years of China-U.S. relations with a focus on China’s society, culture, economy, and politics. Tuition (but not fees) are waived for those over 60. Full the full course description and other information, see the institute’s brochure, Page 8.

A MONTGOMERY COUNTY JUDGE CANDIDATE IS REPRIMANDED: One frequent challenger to the sitting Circuit Court judges in Montgomery County is Marylin Pierre. Pierre ran for judge and lost in the 2018 primary and the 2022 primary.  She survived the 2020 primary but lost in the 2020 general election.  She is running again this year. She has been reprimanded by the state Supreme Court. Adam Pagnucco/Montgomery Perspective.

HIS NAME STILL ON BALLOT, VIGNARAJAH DROPS OUT TO SUPPORT DIXON: Thiru Vignarajah, an attorney running his fourth citywide campaign in six years, dropped out of the mayor’s race Wednesday and threw his support behind former Mayor Sheila Dixon. The race is considered a toss-up between Dixon and Mayor Brandon Scott, with Vignarajah recently polling in third place with the support of about 10% of likely voters. Sam Janesch/The Baltimore Sun.

WHO WILL VIGNARAJAH VOTERS CHOOSE? The Banner and Goucher College Poll surveyed Baltimore mayoral voters last month. We circled back to Vignarajah voters to see how they were feeling now that he has dropped out of the race and thrown his support to Dixon. Hallie Miller and Penelope Blackwell/The Baltimore Banner.

MOSBY WANTS PARDON FROM BIDEN: Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby wants President Joe Biden to intervene ahead of her federal sentencing on perjury and mortgage fraud charges. In an interview Wednesday night on “The ReidOut,” Joy Reid’s MSNBC weeknight show, Mosby said she has done “absolutely nothing wrong, nothing illegal, nothing criminal” — and said she thinks it would be appropriate for Biden to pardon her. Madeleine O’Neill/The Baltimore Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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