Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big Daddy’s Big Money (Updated)

Senate President Mike “Big Daddy” Miller is pouring big, BIG money into a handful of Senate contests. And so are his lieutenants. Let’s look at his slate account.

The Maryland Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has received $836,750 in contributions this year through 10/17/10. Here are the contributors.

Miller himself gave the slate more than half its money. Rob Garagiola, who tied Finance Committee Chair Mac Middleton as the second-leading contributor, was just named the Senate’s next Majority Leader. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman must not be very worried about his Republican challenger, Trent Kittleman, considering that he maxed out to the slate. And the maximum contributions by the teachers and SEIU are interesting considering that one of Miller’s top priorities is passing down teacher pensions to the counties, a goal opposed by the two unions.

Here is how the slate has been spending its money.

The combined $160,448 in mailing and postage is a lot of mail. Consider that a countywide mailing to regularly voting Democrats in MoCo costs about $30,000-40,000. Then consider that MoCo has eight Senate districts. That means this money could have conceivably paid for at least a couple dozen Senate district mailings depending on which voters, and in which parties, are targeted. Then there is the nearly 300 grand for “media.” And finally, $73,900 of the “other” spending went for “research.” Our guess is that they are not researching the exact mathematical value of pi.

The slate’s top target is Republican Senator Alex Mooney of Frederick County, an ultra-conservative who nearly lost to then-unknown Democrat Candy Greenway four years ago. Mooney’s opponent this time is former Frederick Mayor Ron Young. Mooney’s District 3, which includes Frederick City, has 34,626 Democrats and 31,042 Republicans eligible to vote in the general election. The slate has sent at least seven mailers into the district as of October 21, including two accusing Mooney of supporting “violent domestic abusers.” Because the slate reported $302,780 in cash on hand on 10/17 (and Miller himself reported having $341,372), Mooney will be seeing a lot more of those mailers.

Mooney’s race is not the only one in which Miller will be participating. Senate Democrats would really like to pick up the open lower Eastern Shore seat being vacated by Republican J. Lowell Stoltzfus (R-38). The contenders are freshman Democratic Delegate Jim Mathias and Republican Michael James, who lost the Delegate race to Mathias in 2006. District 38 has 36,325 Democrats and 30,644 Republicans eligible to vote. The Democrats also have a number of incumbents to defend, especially in swing jurisdictions like Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties.

But that’s not a problem, since Big Daddy’s Big Money ensures that he can play in as many races as he wants. Wouldn’t it be something if the Senate Democrats actually increase their number this year?

Update: Here are two examples of the slate at work in Anne Arundel County.