|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Maryland's 6th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||John Delaney|
David John Trone
September 21, 1955
Cheverly, Maryland, U.S.
|Education||Furman University (BA)|
University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
David John Trone (born September 21, 1955) is an American businessman and politician, serving as a Democrat in the United States House of Representatives for Maryland's 6th congressional district. The district includes most of the western third of the state, but the bulk of its population is located in the outer northern suburbs of Washington, D. C. He co-founded and co-owns Total Wine & More, along with his brother, and served as the company's president until December 2016.
In 2016, Trone spent more than $13 million on his unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign to succeed Chris Van Hollen in Maryland's 8th congressional district, setting a record for the most expensive self-funded House campaign. In 2018, Trone was the Democratic nominee for the 6th district and won the general election to succeed John Delaney beginning in 2019.
Trone was born in Maryland and raised on a 200-acre (81 ha) farm in East Berlin, Pennsylvania, where his father, Thomas, ran a chicken and hog operation. Thomas also owned a soda and beer store. When Trone's parents separated, his father kept the farm and his mother took over the store. Thomas and his farm went into bankruptcy, but Trone kept working at his mother's store.
Trone graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Furman University in 1977, and earned a Master of Business Administration in 1985 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Main article: Total Wine & More
Having seen the potential of the beer sales at his mother's store, Trone began his career by founding the beer-only retailer Beer World in Pennsylvania in 1984, during his second semester of graduate school. Months before graduating from Wharton, in 1985, Trone expanded into the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Over time, he opened additional stores, called Beer and Pop Warehouse and, later, Beer World, which were owned by friends and family members because Pennsylvania state law prohibited individuals from owning more than one beer retail outlet.
Trone, with the assistance of his brother Robert, then opened two stores in Delaware in 1991, adding wine and spirits to the company's offerings. Using knowledge acquired at Wharton, the brothers chose to replicate the family store's model across Pennsylvania. The beverage company had slim margins, but was immediately profitable and allowed the brothers to focus on operations. The brothers familiarized themselves with regulators and industry leaders, and began changing laws that restrict wholesalers from offering retailers discounts in exchange for large volume purchases, among others in their attempt to promote beverage consumption.
The business has since expanded into what is known today as Total Wine & More, the largest privately owned beer, wine, and spirits retailer in the United States. In December 2016, Trone gave up his title of president to chief executive Kevin Peters.
Beginning in 1989 and for the following three years, Pennsylvania authorities arrested Trone three times following complaints from an association of smaller, individually owned stores. One arrest was for negotiating volume discounts on behalf of multiple stores and illegally advertising beer prices, and another was for circumventing state transportation regulations. These charges were later dismissed.
In 1992, Trone, his wife, June, and brother were indicted by a grand jury in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, for owning multiple stores through Trone's consulting company, among other charges, all of which were later dropped and expunged. In 1994, a state judge dismissed 19 of the 23 counts based on "prosecutorial overreaching", and the remaining counts were withdrawn after Trone paid a $40,000 fee to cover investigation costs.
During these legal proceedings, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) broke the law by providing records of his consulting firm to government officials, prompting Trone to sue the agency in federal court. Trone won and was awarded $400,000. The lawyer who had represented Trone also served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which would begin the start of a long-term relationship between Trone and the nonpartisan, non-profit organization. The Trones' difficulties in Pennsylvania prompted them to leave the state; Total Wine & More grew from the remaining two stores in Delaware and an additional retail outlet in New Jersey, which had been opened by Trone during the early 1990s.
In 2016, Total Wine was served with a license suspension by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission for selling liquor below its costs. The company appealed the commission's decision, and in mid 2017 the Suffolk Superior Court sided with Total Wine.
Trone has been active in Democratic politics and hosted fundraisers for the party. In 2014, he hosted a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown, which was attended by former President Bill Clinton, and in November 2015, he held a fundraiser at his home for the Democratic National Committee, which was attended by President Obama. Trone had also contributed to Republican politicians; according to a database operated by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, he donated more than $150,000 to Republicans in multiple U.S. states between 2000 and 2015. The Washington Post reported that Trone contributed more than $90,000 to Democratic state officials during the same period, and said the donations made to Republicans were to support "legislation or regulatory changes favorable to his company". Trone said the donations "represented the cost of doing business, especially in states with Republican-controlled state houses and governor's mansions".
In January 2016, Trone entered the Democratic primary campaign to succeed Chris Van Hollen in Maryland's 8th congressional district. He ran on reducing unemployment and gun violence, criminal justice reform, environmental protection, and education and foreign policy. Trone pledged to support early education, work with the National Institutes of Health to reduce health care costs, improve infrastructure, and forgive more student loans for government employees.
Trone spent more than $13 million on his unsuccessful campaign, which became the most expensive self-funded House campaign ever. The first-time candidate said a large personal investment was necessary in order to stand out in a crowded race which included recognizable competitors, including news anchor and Marriott International executive Kathleen Matthews and election winner State Senator Jamie Raskin. Following the election, Trone told NPR, "We knew it would be very expensive. We're not surprised by what it cost at all. We anticipated that, and it was a thoughtful choice my wife and I made... It was the right decision to take no money from anybody."
On August 2, 2017, Trone announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Maryland's 6th district, an open seat being vacated by John Delaney, who chose not to seek reelection and retire from Congress to focus on his 2020 presidential campaign. Trone had endorsed Delaney for President several days prior. Trone told Washington Jewish Week in early 2018 that lessons learned from his prior run include not entering the race early enough and not raising money, issues that don't apply to his 2018 campaign.
Trone toured throughout Maryland in late 2017, and filed his candidacy in January 2018. His filing was accompanied by a press release expressing his support for education, environmental protections, health care, Social Security, and women's rights. Trone has also made combating the opioid epidemic a central focus of his platform, releasing an action plan and hosting a series of town hall meetings to address the crisis. In March 2018, Trone, gubernatorial candidate Rushern Baker, and John Delaney organized free bus trips from Maryland to Washington, D.C., in support of the March for Our Lives demonstration.
Trone was endorsed by Baker, Joanne C. Benson, Anthony G. Brown, and Doug Duncan.
On June 26, 2018, Trone won the Democratic primary election for Maryland's 6th district against seven challengers, with 40 percent of the vote.
In the general election, Trone faced Republican Amie Hoeber and candidates from other parties. He received an endorsement from the Washington Post. On election day on November 6, 2018, Trone won the Congressional seat with 57.5 percent of the vote.
On January 23, 2020, Trone announced his intention to run for re-election to Congress to serve a second term. He cited continued challenges of the opioid crisis, criminal justice reform, and economic inequality as his reasons for running again.
In the general election, Trone faced Republican Neil Parrott and candidates from other parties, winning re-election with 58.8% of the vote.
|Democratic||Ana Sol Gutierrez||7,185||5.5|
|Democratic||David M. Anderson||1,511||1.2|
|Democratic||Andrew J. Duck||2,758||4.9|
|Democratic||David Trone (incumbent)||215,540||58.8|
In addition to political contributions, Trone and his wife have supported a number of philanthropic efforts. They have been major contributors to the ACLU since 1994. Their $15 million donation in 2015 supported the organization's efforts to promote criminal justice reform and improve employment opportunities for former prisoners, and established the Trone Center for Justice and Equality at the organization's national headquarters. In 2016, the couple pledged $5 million to establish the Trone Family Public Policy Initiative Fund at their alma mater, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
In mid-2017, the Trones donated $2.5 million to Bethesda, Maryland's Suburban Hospital to support mental and behavioral health services and make improvements to the Old Georgetown Road campus. The couple's donation was inspired by their nephew's death from an opioid overdose in late 2016. The David and June Trone Family Foundation contributed $100,000 to the Catholic Legal Immigration Network in mid 2017 to support locals affected by Trump's travel ban, which the couple called "outrageously egregious". The Trones also donated to the ACLU's Montgomery County affiliate, the Latino immigrant organization CASA, and Interfaith Works.
Trone's contributions to Furman University include a $5 million grant for a student center and to create men's and women's lacrosse teams, and the lead $500,000 gift for the Riley Foundation's endowment to support disadvantaged South Carolina students. The Trone Student Center was dedicated in 2013 and named for Trone and his wife, in honor of their $3.5 million contribution.
In 2021, Trone and his wife donated $5 million to American University to help support research on addiction and behavioral health.
Trone serves as chair of the Trone Private Sector and Education Advisory Council at the ACLU Trone Center. He has served on the Bullis School's board of trustees since 2006.
In 2012, Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) Greater DC gave Trone the "Distinguished Service Award" for his many contributions to the organization, which provides recreational programs for children with developmental and physical disabilities. He was honored at the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Greater Washington, in the "large company" category. In 2015, Trone was invited by the American University's Kennedy Political Union and the Kogod School of Business to speak to students and faculty about entrepreneurship and business leadership. He was awarded the Anti-Defamation League's annual achievement award in 2016. In 2016, Trone joined the boards of American University and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2017, Trone received Furman University's Carl F. Kohrt Distinguished Alumni Award, which is presented "to an alumnus in recognition of significant professional or personal accomplishments and in gratitude for continued loyalty". He served on Furman University's board of trustees from 2010 to 2016.
During his 2018 campaign, Trone was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and surgery to remove a kidney; he was declared cancer-free by October.
As of 2016[update], the Trones live in Potomac, a suburb of Washington. His home is just barely outside the 6th’s borders, but members of the House are only required to live in the state they represent.
Trone was raised Lutheran. His wife and all four children are Jewish and attend Temple Beth Ami in Rockville.