Thursday, August 26, 2010

Campaign Finance Reports, Pre-Primary 1: Districts 18, 19, 20 and 39

Following are summaries of candidates’ campaign finance filings for the period of 1/14/10 through 8/10/10, along with our take on what they mean.

District 18

The four incumbents (Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegates Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jeff Waldstreicher and Al Carr) have a combined $166,497 on hand, far more than challengers Dana Beyer and Vanessa Atterbeary. But that does not matter much because both Beyer and Atterbeary are self-funders. Beyer has spent $137,203 on her campaigns so far and took out a $250,000 loan on her home on 12/30/08. She is currently suing the county government and the resulting impact on her campaign budget is unknown. Atterbeary works for a company owned by her father, Howard County resident Knowlton R. Atterbeary. Knowlton can easily write checks to his daughter in her capacity as his employee and she can devote them to her campaign. Incumbent Jeff Waldstreicher self-financed last time but has not done so during this cycle.

Disclosure: the author is the Treasurer of the District 18 Democratic Team.

District 19

Senator Mike Lenett has outspent challenger Roger Manno by three to one(!) but still has a slightly higher cash balance. Both candidates can self-finance and Lenett is the leader in that category in MoCo over the last decade. Unless one candidate’s mail quality is significantly better than the other, they risk drowning each other out in the last three weeks at GREAT expense.

House candidate Sam “Hunk of the Hill” Arora is a very strong fundraiser. What makes him so dangerous is not just his money, but also his campaign experience (working for Hillary Clinton) and his work ethic. Former MCEA President Bonnie Cullison and Jay Hutchins have the endorsements, but neither has leveraged that support into serious campaign contributions. Hutchins threw the dice and put $45,000 of his own money into the race, matching Arora’s self-funding loan from last fall. Cullison’s cash on hand situation is problematic given the resources of her opponents. Hoan Dang has enough money to get his message out, though whether that will translate into real votes is unknown. Ben Kramer’s numbers are irrelevant. He is a legendary self-financer who will spend whatever is necessary to win.

District 20

All four incumbents are going to win, period.

District 39

Senator Nancy King and challenger Saqib Ali will have all the money they need to wage war. King can turn to Senate President Mike Miller’s slate for more cash if she has to, while Ali’s contribution base seems nearly limitless. We hope that District 39 residents enjoy negative mail, because they will be getting lots of it.

Incumbent Delegates Charles Barkley and Kirill Reznik both look like winners. The open seat candidates are starved for money. This district is a political wasteland with a VERY thin bench. For the remaining Delegate seat, whoever deserves to lose the least will win.

We’ll have more when the next wave of reports comes out after September 3.