David Trone Torched $60 Million of His Own Money. He’s Not the Only One.

The costly realm of campaign politics has claimed its share of the fortunes of yet another business magnate with aspirations to higher office.

Representative David Trone, Democrat of Maryland who co-owns the largest wine retailer in the country, poured more than $60 million of his personal fortune into his Senate campaign in Maryland, according to campaign finance reports filed to the Federal Election Commission. He lost the Democratic primary this week to Angela Alsobrooks, a county executive whose campaign had spent about a tenth of that amount.

A day after Mr. Trone’s loss, Nicole Shanahan, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate and a Silicon Valley investor who recently divorced the Google co-founder Sergey Brin, announced that she was doubling her stake in Mr. Kennedy’s independent presidential campaign. Her donation of another $8 million brings her total contributions to nearly $15 million, despite the fact that no third-party or independent candidate has come close to winning a presidential election in modern U.S. history.

Mr. Kennedy’s campaign is so far only about half as expensive as the costliest self-funded presidential campaign this cycle: Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican entrepreneur, spent more than $30 million of his own wealth on his failed candidacy, dropping out in January after spending $3,500 per vote won in the Iowa caucuses. Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota who sold his software company to Microsoft for $1 billion, didn’t even get that far: He dropped out before a single vote was cast after having spent nearly $14 million on his presidential campaign.

It is a time-honored tradition in U.S. politics: wealthy people burning dizzying sums of money to fuel their political ambitions through long-shot candidacies, or — as in Mr. Trone’s case — campaigns with good odds that simply don’t end up working out.

A self-funded campaign is not always a recipe for disaster. Mr. Trone, for example, was successfully elected to Congress after spending a combined $31.3 million of his fortune to run in two House races. He lost to Jamie Raskin in the 2016 Democratic primary, but he won the 2018 primary to succeed Representative John Delaney, another wealthy Democrat. Jon S. Corzine, a liberal Wall Street executive, spent about $60 million, or $108 million adjusted for inflation, to win a Senate seat in New Jersey in 2000.

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