Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Campaign Finance Shorts, Part Three

Here are quick breakdowns of Districts 18, 19 and 20.

District 18

Adam: Forget about Senator Rich Madaleno’s fundraising total. He is popular in his district, is the premier LGBT politician in Maryland and is one of the very few liberals to get any respect from Senate President Mike “Big Daddy” Miller. He follows in the tradition of former Senators Sharon Grosfeld and Chris Van Hollen as an intelligent and civil progressive. Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez never raises any money and still wins. She has been on the ballot for School Board or Delegate five straight times in District 18. Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher ran hard in 2006, has a solid cash balance and can self-finance if he has to. Delegate Al Carr did not have a large net gain but his contributor list reads like a who’s-who of District 18 Democratic activists. Challenger Dana Beyer spent almost all the money she raised but that is irrelevant. She is a self-funder who has spent almost $90,000 of her own money on her campaigns and will write herself a six-digit check without blinking. Rumored potential Delegate challenger Vanessa Atterbeary has not filed a report. (Disclosure: I am the Treasurer of the District 18 Democratic Team.)

Marc: Adam has the inside track on District 18. Al Carr’s number is a little low considering how many events he has been having, but he gets lots of press and has a lot to run on. I do notice that the D18 Team lost $4,000, which makes me wonder about the performance of their Treasurer…

District 19

Adam: Senator Mike Lenett raised just $17,403.22 from outside sources but fortified his campaign account with a $200,000 loan. Assuming that Lenett keeps the loan in his account, he will have tapped $364,352 of his own money to win and hold his seat. The big question in District 19 is whether Lenett has even more than $200,000 to spend on his race. Potential Senate challenger and Delegate Roger Manno turned in a good performance with $40,793 in gross receipts and only $2,221.57 in expenditures. Like Lenett, Manno can self-finance. But if Manno runs for Senate, Lenett will enjoy a near-monopoly of institutional support. Delegate Ben Kramer is one of the county’s most aggressive self-funders, having spent $220,450 of his own money on the 2006 Delegate race (which he won) and the 2009 County Council District 4 special election (which he lost). Kramer will have enough money to compete for either of those seats and perhaps also for County Council at-large. Delegate Hank Heller has not said publicly whether he will run again.

Former Hillary Clinton staffer Sam “Hunk of the Hill” Arora led all challengers with an incredible $102,643.11 net gain. He will need all of that money to build name recognition in District 19, where very few people have any idea who he is. Former MCEA President Bonnie Cullison and 2006 Delegate candidate Tom DeGonia should be embarrassed by getting outraised by virtually unknown Hoan Dang. Cullison and DeGonia would probably have been better off reporting zero receipts than by getting spanked by Dang. Potential Delegate candidate Jay Hutchins has been very deferential to the incumbents by not running openly, but the other challengers’ activities may force him to jettison that policy. He has opened a campaign account but his report is not yet available as of this writing.

Marc: There was no competing with Sam Arora for the long list of challengers in District 19. His $110,000 haul was a one two punch of strong fundraising and a sizeable loan (Full disclosure, I was one of his donors). Hoan Dang’s number would look very strong if it were not for Arora’s mammoth total.

Jay Hutchins raised over $8,000. The numbers for DeGonia and Cullison have to be viewed as disappointing. DeGonia has been well positioned to run again after his fifth place showing in the 2006 primary. As one legislator said to me, people who have run and lost sit up in bed every night figuring out what they could have done differently. So far, DeGonia’s fundraising looks about on track with his 2006 numbers, though he is starting earlier this time and will have higher name identification.

Cullison is the only woman in the race thus far and given her former job is a favorite for an Apple Ballot endorsement sometime this spring. Given that, her number should be higher. On the other hand, she can probably disappoint with fundraising and still be competitive thanks to her MCEA connections. She also is the only retiree challenger, so she has more time to dedicate to canvassing and other electioneering than others.

District 20

Adam: Senator Jamie Raskin has gone from challenger to icon in three years. But he spends his money almost as quickly as he raises it and he will have to break that habit once he runs for Congress or Attorney General. Delegate and DNC Member Heather Mizeur had a monster fundraising year, leading the entire MoCo Delegation in net gain ($93,205.03). Her high profile, financial performance and hard work in Annapolis has everyone wondering what is next. Delegate and Progressive Maryland founder Tom Hucker is one of labor’s favorite legislators. Delegate Sheila Hixson is the Chair of Ways and Means and is the senior member of the MoCo Delegation. Mizeur and Hucker have a long-standing feud but neither can knock off the other unless Raskin leaves in 2014 and the two run against each other for Senate. Delegate candidate William Colonel Smith may be setting up a future run. Delegate candidate Eli El is the only person with a domestic abuse record running for office in the county of whom we are aware.

Marc: Barring a significant change, and anything is possible in politics, District 20 is all about the future. Raskin looks like an Attorney General candidate in 2014 and Mizeur and Hucker will likely face off in a political battle royale for the Senate seat. Sheila Hixson will also be in her 80s during that election cycle. 2014 will be a big year in District 20. (Full disclosure, I donated to Will Smith’s campaign).

More tomorrow!