Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ben Kramer is Raising Money

Delegate Ben Kramer (D-19) is holding a fundraiser on November 8. So what's unusual about that? Plenty.

Kramer is a wealthy commercial property owner and developer whose family has long been a force in the county's political and business communities. His family's company, Kramer Enterprises, owns over 100 commercial properties across the region and has served as a cash cow for the family's political races. In his runs for Delegate in 2006 (which succeeded) and the County Council District 4 seat in 2009 (which did not), Ben Kramer received $220,450 from himself and just $14,326 from outside contributors.

So why is Kramer now interested in raising money? His father, Sid, the former County Executive, recently said this about the commercial real estate industry:

Sid Kramer, president of Kramer Enterprises in Silver Spring, Md., runs more than 100 commercial real estate properties throughout the region. A former county executive, Kramer took part in Berliner’s March 26 summit: He said this is the worst economy he’s seen in decades.

“I would estimate that 30 to 40 percent [of area businesses] have either closed, are on the brink of closing, or are being carried by their landlords,” meaning tenants aren’t paying rent. “It would be very helpful to both the tenant and the landlord to carry the responsible tenants through this downturn in the economy.”
Does this mean the family business is hurting and unable to finance six-digit campaign bills?

Of course, there may be another reason. Ben Kramer may be preparing to run a race that's more expensive than a Delegate contest. Like, maybe, just maybe... County Council. And maybe even At-Large.

Here's his solicitation.