Thursday, February 04, 2010

Campaign Finance Shorts, Part Four

Here are quick breakdowns of District 39, a few accounts of statewide interest and the Prince George’s County Executive race.

District 39

Adam: Delegate Saqib Ali has been conducting a hot-and-cold guerilla war against Senator Nancy King since at least last summer. Ali’s net gain ($82,282.04) was second only to Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-20) among MoCo Delegates and was almost four times King’s. Things are getting so bad that King might just be relieved if Ali finally pulled the trigger on a Senate race. Neither of the remaining two Delegates, Charles Barkley or Kirill Reznik, had a good fundraising performance last year. If Ali’s seat opens up, both of them should be concerned about challengers.


Adam: There’s a new Big Daddy in town as Speaker Mike Busch outgained Senate President Mike Miller in both gross and net receipts. Miller must regain his coveted nickname in all haste! Governor Martin O’Malley already has enough money to blow away any GOP contender other than former Governor Bob Ehrlich, but potential primary challenger and former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne Curry’s fundraising capability is unknown. Attorney General Doug Gansler could be sitting on $10 million by the time he runs for Governor in 2014. Comptroller Peter Franchot’s fundraising gap with Gansler, against whom he may run for Governor, is becoming increasingly obvious.

Marc: Former Governor Ehrlich raised $76,000 in 2009 (and spent $86,000). He could run a very competitive race for the legislature if he wanted to set his sights a little lower than the Governor’s mansion.

Judd Legum, running in District 30 where there is a Republican incumbent, raised an impressive $65,000. Conservative blog Red Maryland sensed the threat and tried to discredit Legum, which was nicely rebutted at MPW. Red Maryland seemed particularly concerned that Legum raised money from his in-laws in New York. Speaking as someone who has occasionally convinced his Illinois based in-laws to donate to Maryland political causes, I say good for Legum for having a good relationship with his wife’s family.

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith raised $320,000, bringing his total to over $1 million for his State Senate race. Smith is seeking to replace Andy Harris, who is running for Congress. It is not the easiest district for a Democrat, with highly touted challenger Pat Foerster, former president of the Maryland State Teachers Association, only getting 43% of the vote in the Democratic wave of 2006.

Prince George’s County Executive

Adam: Former Delegate Rushern Baker looks good at the moment, although he could do a better job on financial disclosure. Hopefully, he is not over-using lump sums. One of our spies in the county had this to say about the contest:

[Baker] is off to a great start and the union endorsements help with momentum building. I can’t say he’s running away with it at this point because I know how machines are in our county. They have slipped noticeably in the last few election cycles but they are still formidable. Senators Nathaniel Exum, Anthony Muse, Ulysses Currie and David Harrington could very well back Councilman Sam Dean. Muse is the wild card because he may run. Also, Harrington is going to be in a barnburner with Delegate Victor Ramirez in a district where Rushern is extremely popular. He may elect to sit that one out if he thinks Rushern would then endorse Victor. Although Councilman Dean’s personal campaign account is sparse, he is on a couple of slates with significant money that I believe he controls. [Editor’s note: one of them is shown above.] If I am not mistaken, his wife may be the chairwoman of one of the slates.

Another candidate to watch out for is Michael Jackson. While I believe the Cheye Calvo incident will be a factor, it won’t be as big a factor as one would think. Jackson’s base is the Inner Beltway, particularly working class African-Americans. Unfortunately for him, what base Dean has is in the Inner Beltway. Dean is close to Exum’s daughter, Camille, and unless it becomes obvious he can’t win, they are rallying the troops to him. Currie is also close to Dean so that’s another one to watch.

Delegate Gerron Levi is probably a long shot but you can’t discount the only woman in a race with a lot of males who will significantly split the vote. In House races in ‘06, I believe women led the ticket in 5 of the 8 races with Veronica Turner being the overall top vote-getter in the county. Women are probably 60% of the primary vote.

In the final analysis, Rushern is off to a good start and has an opportunity to separate himself a bit while others try to get their legs up under them. He’s starting to shift a bit from strictly fundraising to field operations. If he can connect with Inner Beltway voters, this thing is over. He does well outside the Beltway and with white voters. If he can be credible inside the Beltway, it’s a rout.