Monday, February 23, 2009

The Money Chase: Montgomery County Delegation

Once again, it’s time to look at the mother’s milk of politics: cold, hard cash. Today, we examine the campaign funds of Montgomery’s statehouse delegation, as well as those of a few potential challengers. All data pertains to the year ending 1/14/09. We then weed through the data (with a little help from our informants) to determine who is in the strongest position and who needs to do more.

Strongest Position

1. Senator Rob Garagiola, D-15 (Balance $139,291.38, Net Gain $65,413.67)
Garagiola has far more money than he needs to win re-election, so he has the luxury of spreading his money to other Democrats around the state. That’s a sure way to build alliances, move up in leadership and keep Big Daddy happy.

2. Senator Brian Frosh, D-16 (Balance $138,876.99, Net Gain $30,400.42)
Frosh is invulnerable in his home district but must spread money around to other Democratic Senators to have a shot at succeeding Mike Miller. Fellow Senate President contender Mac Middleton has more money ($164,747.09) and may be better at playing this game than Frosh.

3. Senator Rich Madaleno, D-18 (Balance $10,726.87, Net Gain $2,514.58)
The money is irrelevant; Madaleno is immune to challenge in his district. If he ever tapped into the GLBT community and the connections associated with his seat on the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee, he would be a formidable fundraiser.

4. Delegate Brian Feldman, D-15 (Balance $60,168.93, Net Gain $29,348.62)
Feldman receives near-universal respect from our spies for his position in his district and his rapidly growing stature as Chair of Montgomery’s House Delegation. His fundraising total strongly suggests that he is not running against Comptroller Peter Franchot.

5. Senator Jamie Raskin, D-20 (Balance $50,761.48, Net Gain $23,776.80)
Liberal hero will be unchallenged in 2010. He would be raising even more money if it were not for his massive fundraising expenses ($37,092.58 last year).

6. Delegate Anne Kaiser, D-14 (Balance $30,394.02, Net Gain $8,349.39)
Smart steady Eddie has lots of fans among our spies. One of Montgomery’s best hopes for a rare high-ranking Committee Chair.

7. Tie between Delegate Tom Hucker, D-20 (Balance $62,703.49, Net Gain $35,402.91) and Delegate Heather Mizeur, D-20 (Balance $67,000, Net Gain $13,695)
Both freshmen have locked down their seats. Mizeur was the only freshman picked by our readers as one of the most influential elected leaders in Montgomery County last year. Hucker has raised 66% of his total contributions from businesses, PACs and political clubs. Many of our informants believe these two are destined to one day run against each other for Senate.

9. Delegate Saqib Ali, D-39 (Balance $87,423.54, Net Gain $63,631.29)
The King of Facebook is also the King of the Cash Drawer. Ali’s net gain far exceeded any other Montgomery Delegate. He is constantly rumored to be thinking of a challenge to Senator Nancy King (D-39).

10. Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher, D-18 (Balance $53,824.73, Net Gain $23,619.16)
Waldstreicher is the top fundraiser on a united slate. He put on a campaign clinic in 2006 and is ready to do it again next year.

11. Delegate Roger Manno, D-19 (Balance $48,474.03, Net Gain $24,836.74)
Only one thing seems certain in ultra-chaotic District 19: Manno is the most popular office-holder and will be back in 2010.

12. Delegate Bill Frick, D-16 (Balance $35,413.93, Net Gain $5,238.40)
Our informants name Frick as one of the delegation’s brightest people with the most potential to move up. He has raised money and consolidated his hold on his seat amazingly fast given his status as a 2007 appointee.

Needs to Do More

1. Senator Jennie Forehand, D-17 (Balance $71,044.34, Net Gain $4,705.66)
Forehand is already facing a challenge from former Delegate Cheryl Kagan, who raised $20,634.69 last year and has $44,224.76 in the bank. Kagan is smart, aggressive, highly-motivated and knows how to win in District 17. Some spies are comparing this contest to the Jamie Raskin – Ida Ruben Senate race in 2006.

2. Delegate Kirill Reznik, D-39 (Balance $11,725.30, Net Gain -$1,134.85)
Reznik, who is an appointee and has never run for office, is not raising enough money. If Saqib Ali challenges Nancy King, Reznik will not benefit from a unified slate. Will Hugh Bailey, who vied with Reznik for the appointment, challenge him in 2010?

3. Delegate Jim Gilchrist, D-17 (Balance $9,577.60, Net Gain $6,970.00)
Gilchrist defeated Ryan Spiegel by just 519 votes in 2006. Spiegel is now a Gaithersburg City Council Member after winning endorsements from Mayor Sidney Katz and several labor unions. If Gilchrist does not look stronger, Spiegel may be tempted to try again. Also complicating the situation is a possible open seat if Delegate Luiz Simmons joins Cheryl Kagan in running against Senator Jennie Forehand.

4. Senator Nancy King, D-39 (Balance $40,217.23, Net Gain $21,713.61)
King is facing a potential challenge from Delegate Saqib Ali, who has more than double her campaign balance ($87,423.54). A King-Ali race will not turn on money alone but King needs to make sure she has enough cash to compete.

5. Delegate Craig Rice, D-15 (Balance $23,626.28, Net Gain $16,831.15)
District 15 is home to some of Maryland’s wealthiest communities and Rice won by just 152 votes last time. Those two facts together mean that Rice needs to be raising more money than he is.

6. Delegate Henry Heller, D-19 (Balance $2,785.65, Net Gain -$684.90)
Most of our informants do not expect Heller to run again.


As we discussed above, former Delegate Cheryl Kagan is mounting an energetic insurgency against Senator Jennie Forehand (D-17). This will be one of the marquee races in 2010 and we will give it more attention in a future post. District 18 Delegate candidate Dana Beyer (Balance $1,764.67, Net Gain $1,503.16) has never stopped running since her fifth-place finish in 2006. She has been making some noise on this blog and on her website, but she is not raising enough money to compete against a full slate. After loaning herself $75,000 in 2006, she may be looking at self-funding again. Former Delegate candidates Regina Oldak (D-16) and Ryan Spiegel (D-17) are not raising money or declaring their intentions - yet. Hank Heller’s possible retirement could set off another free-for-all in District 19. That is the same district in which two incumbent Delegates ran for Senate in 2006 - and lost.

Special Mention

Delegate Kumar Barve, D-17 (Balance $53,250.61, Net Gain -$2,562.21)
Despite his recent escapades, we do not see Barve as vulnerable. But as the House Majority Leader, he should have a bigger campaign account. We believe Barve should exploit his status as the funniest man in Annapolis to hold a ticketed event: “Bad Boy Comedy Hour with Kumar and Friends.” On warm-up: salty-tongued Senate President Mike Miller and a special reading of Saqib Ali’s latest Facebook updates.

Disclosure: I am the Treasurer of the District 18 Democratic Team.