Political fundraisers aren’t just occasions to rake in bucks. They also tell us something about the state of a candidate’s campaign – the way he or she is perceived and the message he or she is trying to send to opponents and the broader political world.
Candidates in Maryland are raising money at a furious pace – and they aren’t letting up just because the holiday season is upon us, when charitable giving comes to the fore. In fact, there are plenty of star-spangled, high-dollar events coming up in December that are worth highlighting.
Perhaps most noteworthy is Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s (D) fundraiser on Dec. 5, her 365th day in office. It will be held outside the city, in Owings Mills, at the Caves Valley Golf Club, and is being sponsored by Steve Sibel, a partner in Caves Valley Partners, the real estate development firm, and Steve Fader, who is chairman of the Atlantic Capital Group and a Caves Valley investor. Fader is also president of the Caves Valley Golf Club.
The firm is best known for its projects in Baltimore County but it has several ongoing in the city, and is also an investor in the Horseshoe Casino. Earlier this year, Caves Valley pulled out of a deal to renovate the Cross Street Market in Federal Hill, then quickly opted back in.
The fundraiser runs from 6-8 p.m. and ticket prices start at $1,000 a head. That’s 10 times pricier than tickets for Pugh’s inauguration night party at the Hilton last year.
Also setting donors back at least $1,000 is a Dec. 11 Baltimore fundraiser for state Senate President Mike Miller (D), headlined by Baltimore Orioles immortal Cal Ripken Jr. That’s right – the owner of the longest consecutive games played streak in baseball history and the longest-serving presiding officer of a U.S. legislative chamber together at one event. Talk about symbolism!
Miller is, of course, close to Gerry Evans, the lobbyist for the O’s and a longtime consigliere to Peter Angelos, the team’s principal owner. The evening event takes place at the Sagamore Pendry in Fells Point.
It will also cost you $1,000 to fete Gov. Larry Hogan (R) at his annual Governor’s Gala at the Hilton in Baltimore. Hogan has been fundraising relentlessly all fall, as he gears up for re-election.
A few other December fundraisers caught our eye: The House Republican Caucus has one on Dec. 12, headlined by Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh (R) – erasing any doubt about how close Schuh and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke (R) are.
It will be held at Severna Park home of Brian Chisholm, a mortgage lender who is making a second run for the House of Delegates in Kipke’s district, and his wife, Kristie, an occupational therapist in the Prince George’s County public schools. Ticket prices begin at $250.
House Judiciary Chairman Joe Vallario (D), who was first elected in 1974 and has held the gavel since 1993, appears to be cranking up to seek another term next year, when he will be 81. He has a breakfast fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 18 at Calvert House in Annapolis – with Speaker Mike Busch (D) as the headliner.
Ticket prices start at $250.
Lastly, we note that Tim Robinson (R), a physician who unsuccessfully challenged state Sen. Jim Brochin (D) in 2014, is running for a House of Delegates seat in Dist. 42B this cycle. As he did last time, Robinson is kicking off his fundraising campaign at the side of his medical and political mentor, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R), a fellow anesthesiologist who is headlining a Dec. 4 fundraiser for Robinson at the Hunt Valley home of two other physicians, Rick Howard, also an anesthesiologist, and Laura Pimentel, who practices emergency medicine.
Robinson lost to Brochin by about 1,500 votes in 2014. But this time both House seats are open in Dist. 42B, the more conservative part of the 42nd District, which stretches from Towson to the Pennsylvania border (the subdistrict went for Hogan by a more than 3-1 margin). With Brochin running for Baltimore County executive, Del. Chris West (R) is attempting to move up and is running for Senate. Del. Susan Aumann (R) is retiring to take care of her ailing mother.
Robinson isn’t the only Republican running for the House in the district. The other candidates who have filed so far are Raymond Boccelli, a military veteran and Baltimore County police supervisor; Justin Kinsey, the general manager of a commercial ambulance company, who was a contract firefighter during the Iraq War; Nino Mangione, a website manager at WCBM Radio; and Joe Sandy, a health professional whose platform includes “fighting mass surveillance in Maryland.”