Political Notes: 6th District Fundraising, Popular GOP Governors, Endorsements Galore

Money isn’t everything in politics, but there appears to be a significant separation between the leading contenders in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 6th congressional district. Unsurprisingly, businessman David Trone had far and away the most money in the bank in the latest campaign finance reports, which were filed late Monday. Trone reported more than $1.5 million on hand as of March 31, after taking in more than $5.6 million since joining the race. More than $5.2 million came from his own pocket – and he reported spending more than $4 million so far. In the past three months, he took in close to $3.2 million, $3 million of it from his own pocket. He spent more than $2.4 million between Jan. 1 and March 31.  David Trone Next in cash on hand was Del. Aruna Miller, who had $941,000 in the bank. She collected $326,000 in the past three months and spent $136,000. Overall she has raised close to $1.2 million. Physician Nadia Hashimi reported $302,000 on hand. She raised $62,000 in this period and spent $108,000. Previously, she had loaned her campaign $225,000. State Sen. Roger Manno banked $274,000 on March 31. He took in just $30,000 in the past three months, and spent $40,000. Earlier, Manno had loaned his campaign $72,000. Amie Hoeber, the overwhelming frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 6th District race, reported $120,000 in the bank as of March 31. About that Morning Consult Poll Yes, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) remains the second most popular governor in the nation, according to a Morning Consult poll, which several Maryland media outlets wrote about last week. With a 68 percent approval rating – compared to just 17 percent of voters who disapproved of the job he’s doing – Hogan clearly has poll numbers that most politicians would envy. But the Morning Consult survey, which queried voters in all 50 states from Jan. 1 to March 31, is also noteworthy in other ways – some relevant to Hogan, others relevant to the overall election cycle. First, the 11 most popular governors in America are Republicans. Three of the top four – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (71 percent approval), Hogan and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (65 percent approval) – lead liberal states. The fifth most popular, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (63 percent approval), leads a purple state with an all-Democratic (and all-female, coincidentally) congressional delegation. So where is the blue wave all the pundits are talking about? It may not materialize at the gubernatorial level. To be sure, Democrats have pick-up opportunities – in Wisconsin and Illinois, where GOP governors whose approval ratings are under water, and in open-seat races in Michigan, Ohio, New Mexico, Maine and Nevada. But they are also defending vulnerable seats in places like Connecticut and Rhode Island. That’s quite a contrast to the congressional level, where Republicans are in serious danger of losing control of the House, and where Democrats now appear to have an outside chance of flipping the House. Interestingly, the most popular Democratic governor in the U.S. represents a red state – Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana (55 percent). Tied for second as the most popular Democratic governors are Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, at 52 percent. Inslee is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, working to defeat Hogan. How are the governors in the general vicinity of Maryland faring? Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), 44 percent approval, 26 percent disapproval. Delaware Gov. John Carney (D), 50 percent approval, 29 percent disapproval. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), 45 percent approval, 39 percent disapproval. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, a Democrat turned Republican, 42 percent approval, 44 percent disapproval. Kamala Harris’ second Maryland endorsement Having recently endorsed former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous in the Maryland gubernatorial primary, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) waded into the race for Prince George’s County executive, endorsing State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks in the Democratic primary. “Angela is a committed public servant who leads by being present in the community, addressing specific concerns of residents,” Harris said in a statement. “She has a strong track record of getting things done, so when she says everyone will have the opportunity for a quality education, good paying job and safe neighborhoods, her record lets you know that she will deliver on those promises.” Alsobrooks has traveled to California to stump for Harris in the past. She described Harris as a mentor and “trailblazer.” The senator – who is mentioned as a potential candidate for president in 2020 – is a former California attorney general who previously served as the top prosecutor in San Francisco. Montgomery County Endorsement Round-up  Leslie Milano with ex-Gov. Parris N. Glendening The endorsements have come fast and furious in Maryland’s biggest political jurisdiction in the past several days. Some of the highlights: Hoan Dang, one of 33 Democrats running for four County Council at-large seats, got the backing of County Executive Isiah Leggett on Monday. “As a budget expert, former refugee and community leader, I believe Hoan possesses the breadth and depth of experience needed to serve on the County Council from day one,” Leggett said. Dang becomes the second Council at-large Leggett has endorsed; Gabe Albornoz, who runs the recreation department for the county government, is the other.

  • Lorig Charkoudian, a professional mediator who is seeking a House of Delegates seat in District 20, which covers Takoma Park and Silver Spring, has been endorsed by the district’s departing legislator, longtime Del. Sheila Ellis Hixson. “I place great stock in long term community involvement and experience in the political realm,” said Hixson, who has served in the legislature for 42 years. “Lorig, I know, has worked on many legislative initiatives in Annapolis, and as a result, she understands the legislative process and how to get things done.” Incumbent Dels. David Moon and Jheanelle K. Wilkins are seeking reelection, and four other Democrats are also running.
  • Vaughn Stewart, one of six nonincumbents running for the House of Delegates in District 19, racked up an endorsement from former state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) this week. “He has an impressive amount of experience and is passionate about serving his community,” Gansler said. Besides the six non-incumbents, Dels. Bonnie Cullison and Marice I. Morales are seeking the Democratic nomination. The third delegate, Benjamin F. Kramer (D), is running for state Senate.
  • Leslie Milano, one of eight Democrats running for the House in the District 18, picked up the endorsement of former Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) over the weekend. “Leslie’s focus on transit, walkable, sustainable communities and solar energy will make her a leader in efforts to protect our environment and our planet. She understands good environmental policy is good for the economy. She knows Maryland can be a leader in making alternate energy an important part of our economy,” Glendening said. Milano is one of seven non-incumbents running in the primary, along with Del. Alfred C. Carr Jr.
  • If Milano’s endorsement from Glendening isn’t making you nostalgic, Jordan Cooper, one of six nonincumbents running for a House seat in District 16, has rolled out endorsements from Glendening, Gansler, former Gov. Harry Hughes (D), and former Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg (D). The incumbents in the Democratic primary are Dels. Ariana B. Kelly and Marc Korman.
  • Days after Montgomery County Councilman Sidney Katz released a list of endorsements from half the current and former elected officials in the county – OK, it may have just seemed that way – his Democratic primary challenger, Ben Shnider, announced Monday that he has been endorsed by Rockville City Councilwoman Virginia Onley and former Gaithersburg City Councilwoman Yvette Monroe.

jkurtz@marylandmatters.org   

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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