Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Campaign Finance Shorts, Part Two

Here are quick breakdowns of Districts 15, 16 and 17.

District 15

Adam: Senator Rob Garagiola is playing on a statewide field now. He had the largest net gain ($76,913) of any MoCo Delegation Member who did not use self-funding other than Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-20). His balance exceeds every other MoCo legislator and only self-financing Senator Mike Lenett (D-19) came close. Most surprisingly, Garagiola’s gross take ($$117,010) actually exceeded his Finance Commitee Chairman, Senator Mac Middleton ($103,619). Much of Garagiola’s money will wind up in other parts of the state as he builds political capital to move up in the Senate. Delegate Brian Feldman is set for another term. Delegates Kathleen Dumais and Craig Rice did not raise a lot of money. They need to beware of the kind of self-financing moderate Republican candidate who could very easily spring up in Potomac. Dumais is helped by the fact that she is the only female politician in the district, but freshman Rice barely defeated GOP Delegate Jean Cryor last time and needs to run strong against any challenger.

Marc: Craig Rice has never been a strong fundraiser. He beat a long serving Republican for about $35,000. But that was in a Democratic wave year and he needs to step it up for the reasons Adam outlined. (Full disclosure, I have donated to Craig and worked on his first campaign).

Dumais is actually out performing her fundraising performance from four years ago. She has never been a big spending campaigner. Her 2002 campaign, where she was a challenger, only cost about $20,000. She spent more money in 2006 and went from being third place to the vote leader.

District 16

Adam: Senator Brian Frosh is invulnerable in his district, chairs one of the Senate’s four standing committees and is a plausible contender to succeed Mike “Big Daddy” Miller as Senate President, but he only reported a $33,928.10 net gain last year. That is less than half Garagiola’s net gain. The Miller model for wielding power in Annapolis involves raising huge amounts of money and spreading it around liberally. Frosh does not seem to have a taste for that game and it could handicap him in his quest for the big chair. Delegate Susan Lee benefits from regular four-digit contributions from Asian Americans. Delegate Bill Bronrott had the lowest gross receipts ($1,650) of any MoCo Delegation Member other than Delegates Jim Gilchrist (D-17) and Hank Heller (D-19). Delegate Bill Frick has built up a decent kitty for an appointee and benefits from 2006 candidate Reggie Oldak’s decision to not run. Our spies adore Frick but he could have used the seasoning of a decent election fight.

Marc: The District 16 incumbents work well together and are expected to slate. Thanks to having two of the top fundraisers in the County Delegation on their team, Delegate Bronrott’s low fundraising should not harm them. Senator Frosh may not match the totals for Garagiola or Ali, but he is one of a small handful in the six digit range. Most important for District 16 is that they lack any challengers, so they could be sailing to reelection. That said, at some point Delegate Bronrott’s low fundraising could tempt someone to jump in the race. (Full disclosure, I am a Montgomery County Democratic central committee member from District 16 and have donated to some of the incumbents).

District 17

Adam: Senator Jennie Forehand has been outraised by former Delegate and Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan two years in a row. The incumbent has to do something – anything – to slow down the challenger’s momentum. House Majority Leader Kumar Barve did not work that hard to raise money but could access it if necessary. Delegate Jim Gilchrist turned in the worst performance of any MoCo incumbent except for Delegate Hank Heller (D-19). The State Board of Elections has no report for Delegate Luiz Simmons. If Forehand drops out and Simmons runs against Kagan for the Senate seat, expect Gaithersburg City Council Member Ryan Spiegel, a 2006 Delegate candidate, to run again. Spiegel would be the early favorite for an open seat.

Marc: Jim Gilchrist spent over $40,000 in 2006 and should get it into gear for 2010. If there is any incumbent movement in the district, Ryan Spiegel may not be the only challenger and Gilchrist could face a tough campaign quickly. School Board member Laura Berthiaume ran in the district in 2006 and Rockville is filled with politicians who would not mind moving up.

More tomorrow!