Some Democratic Picks for Lieutenant Governor Starting to Pay Dividends

When candidates for governor select their running mates, one of the things they hope is that their No. 2’s can lend some fundraising muscle to the ticket. That is starting to pan out for at least some of the Democratic candidates. New campaign finance reports filed this week show that two of the Democratic running mates have collected significant amounts of money since joining with their principals in February. Julie Verratti, co-owner of Denizens Brewing Co. in downtown Silver Spring and running mate for author and tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, took in almost $106,000 through last week and reported $102,000 on hand. That’s a separate campaign fund from Ross’.  Julie Verratti  Verratti, who has networks of contacts in the business, activist and political worlds, had a variety of contributions from a variety of places. Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, who is the lieutenant governor candidate for Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz, reported raising almost $56,000, with a bank account just shy of $50,000. Ervin’s contributions appear to come exclusively from Baltimore County development companies, finance companies and other businesses, which have been supportive of Kamenetz during his many years in local politics. Due to a quirk in state campaign law, not every candidate for lieutenant governor was required to file a finance report this week. If the candidates had existing campaign accounts and filed reports in mid-January, when annual campaign statements were due, they won’t be required to file again until May 22, when the gubernatorial candidates file their latest reports. Besides Verratti and Ervin, Sharon Blake, the running mate for former Obama administration official Krishanti Vignarajah, and Luwanda Jenkins, the running mate for state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., had not previously filed campaign finance reports. Blake filed an affidavit this week indicating that her campaign committee had not raised or spent a cumulative $1,000 since she joined Vignarajah’s ticket on the Feb. 27 filing deadline. And because Madaleno is the only Democratic candidate in the state’s public financing system, Jenkins, while obligated to create a campaign committee, which she has done, does not raise money independently from Madaleno. The three other Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor filed campaign finance statements in January. Susan W. Turnbull, who was picked to run with former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous in November, reported $244,000 cash on hand at the time. Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott M. Scott, who is running with attorney James T. Shea, had almost $57,000 on hand in mid-January – though he had not joined Shea’s ticket at that point. Former assistant attorney general Elizabeth Embry, who is running with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, had $18,000 in the bank in January – before she was selected to run as Baker’s No. 2. That money was left over from her unsuccessful 2016 bid for mayor of Baltimore, though she also reported $22,000 in debts from that campaign. Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) reported $983,000 in his account as of mid-January, which combined with Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s take, gave the Republican ticket a combined $9 million campaign treasury. Democrats will be hustling to make up the difference for the rest of the year. [email protected]

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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