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Campaign Finance Analysis: Hogan’s Riches, Dems’ Mixed Fortunes

It’s good to be king.


Not surprisingly, Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. so far has outraised, outspent and socked away more money than all nine Democratic would-be challengers in this year’s gubernatorial race.


In fact, Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford have banked nearly three times the amount of cash that the entire Democratic field has on hand combined, the latest campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show.


The Hogan-Rutherford ticket raised $1.2 million since mid-April, spent nearly $1 million since mid-January – and still has $9.3 million in cash on hand, more than five months from the general election, the reports show.


The latest campaign finance filings were due at the Maryland State Board of Elections no later than midnight Tuesday. While the current reporting period runs from Jan. 11 through May 15, state elected officials are prohibited from raising money during the 90-day session of the Maryland General Assembly, which this year convened Jan. 10 and adjourned midnight, April 9.


That means Hogan and Rutherford raised their money in roughly five weeks, between April 10 and May 15.


 Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.  

No wonder the Hoganites were crowing privately in advance of Tuesday’s release.


But despite the usual deluge of press notifications from the campaign, and even the second floor of the State House, about, well, everything, particularly if it has to do with “bipartisanship” – or not — all seemed oddly quiet about the money raised for the campaign.


Except, that is, for the chest-thumping memo about fundraising from Thomas E. Kelso, the Hogan campaign chairman – and Maryland Stadium Authority chairman – that was leaked to The Sun and The Washington Post prior to the reports’ public release.


Heavy spending by Dems


Among Democrats competing in the June 26 primary, the measure of success depends on what lens you’re looking through.


The team of Benjamin T. Jealous, former president of the NAACP, and running mate Susan W. Turnbull, former chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, raised nearly $1 million, spent nearly $1 million and still had $660,110 cash on hand, reports show.


Among the bigger drains on the Jealous-Turnbull ticket’s reserves was a $435,667 paid for media, including consulting, polling, advertising and website design and production.


The ticket of James L. Shea, former chairman of Venable LLP, the largest law firm in Maryland, and Baltimore City Councilman Brandon M. Scott raised $671,674 and spent $662,546.


But among Democrats in the race, the Shea-Scott pairing had the highest amount of cash still on hand — $1.4 million — much of it thanks to a generous outpouring of support from lawyers.


Although Shea has held other civic positions outside the field of law – such as former chairman of the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents — the finance reports for the campaign read like a Who’s Who of the Maryland bar.


 Baltimore City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, running mate to James L. Shea  

It probably should come as no surprise that Shea’s campaign chairman is Ralph S. Tyler III, a retired Venable partner who once was former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.’s chief of litigation, Baltimore City Solicitor for Curran’s son-in-law, then-Mayor Martin J. O’Malley, chief legal counsel to O’Malley when he was governor, and Maryland Insurance Commissioner, among a host of positions.


Tyler himself threw in $6,000 to the ticket.


Among other notable Shea-Scott contributors are J. Joseph “Max” Curran III, son of the former Maryland attorney general, brother-in-law of O’Malley and one-time member of the Public Service Commission, who kicked in $3,000.


Also with $1.4 million in the bank is the campaign account of Kevin B. Kamenetz, the former Baltimore County executive who died suddenly May 10, upending the Democratic primary. Unfortunately for his former running mate, Valerie L. Ervin, that money will not roll over to what has become her gubernatorial effort.


Taking advantage of a provision in election law, Ervin, a former Montgomery County Council and school board member, stepped up from candidate for lieutenant governor to candidate for governor last week. She picked as her running mate, Marisol A. Johnson, a former Baltimore County school board member who inexplicably abandoned her campaign for a 2nd District Baltimore County Council seat earlier this year.


Finance reports for the Ervin-Johnson combine showed that the ticket raised $115,533 – most of it coming from Kamenetz contacts in Baltimore County – spent $6,434 and had $167,603 on hand.


The Democratic ticket that took a lead and has consistently held it in the polls seemed to sputter in its fundraising efforts in this last reporting period.


Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and Elizabeth M. Embry, a former prosecutor who later headed the Maryland Attorney General’s criminal division and ran for Baltimore mayor in 2016, reported $562,790 in cash on hand.


Baker-Embry raised $542,867 and spent $631,944, much of it going to myriad consultants to the campaign.


A number of individuals and companies were paid for consulting: $37,051 went to David Byrd Inc. of Los Angeles, $18,002.35 to the Macabee Group of Bethesda, $15,750 to Jibran Eubanks of Greenbelt, and $17,000 to the Mellinger Group LLC of Baltimore, a fundraising consultant.


Another $75,900 went to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Washington, D.C., polling firm.


The money-raising efforts do show the effect of Embry’s deep roots in Baltimore, as she clearly tapped members of the city’s old network, along with Baker’s statewide reach.


Former Governor O’Malley sent Baker $1,000 – though he has not formally endorsed the two – and his son William O’Malley kicked in $25.


Major F. Riddick Jr., once chief of staff to former Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) and now a lobbyist, donated $1,000 to his fellow Prince Georgian. The two opposed each other in a crowded 2002 Democratic primary for Prince George’s executive, which both lost.


Nathan Landow, Montgomery County real estate developer and Democratic Party fundraiser who at one time played prominently on the national stage, contributed $6,000 to the cause, as did Robert C. Embry Jr., prominent president of The Abell Foundation in Baltimore and father of the lieutenant governor candidate.


Elizabeth Embry’s sister Katherine Embry, a Baltimore charter school teacher, also wrote a check to the campaign for $500.


Alan H. Fleischmann, former chief of staff to ex-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) and now president of Laurel Strategies, a business and communications consultancy, gave $500 to the Kamenetz campaign in April. Two days later, he contributed $500 to Baker.


Former Baltimore Del. Anne S. Perkins gave $250 to Baker, as did one-time Del. Mary Louise Preis, who once represented parts of Harford County in the House of Delegates.


Richard O. “Rick” Berndt, the Baltimore attorney once seen as O’Malley’s political padrone, contributed $1,000 to Embry’s account, as did James “Buzz” Cusack, owner of the Charles Theater in Baltimore.


The better funded of the race’s two all-woman tickets – that of Krishanti O’Mara Vignarajah, a lawyer and former policy director for Michelle Obama, and running mate Sharon Y. Blake, former head of the Baltimore Teachers Union – filed its main report past the deadline of midnight Tuesday.


The ticket’s reports show that Vignarajah-Blake raised $152,833.44 and spent just $26,949.34, leaving $534,655 for the final sprint to the June 26 primary. The amount remaining, however, includes $27,000 from both the Friends of Sharon Blake and Krish & Sharon for Maryland slate accounts, which list identical contributions and contributors, possibly in error.


State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. of Montgomery County and his running mate, Luwanda W. Jenkins from Baltimore County, are the only gubernatorial candidates opting to take matching money from the state’s Fair Campaign Financing Fund.


The fund’s occasionally impenetrable filing regulations make it difficult to assess the ticket’s fundraising efforts, but it appears Madaleno-Jenkins has raised $180,326 in the last period and spent $277,862, with $23,042 in cash remaining. But the state issued a check Tuesday for another $287,467.49 to match eligible funds raised earlier, bringing the total cash on hand to $310,509.


Additionally, the Madaleno-Jenkins campaign has submitted another $38,608.23 in contributions eligible for a match from the Fair Campaign Financing Fund.


One of the campaigns appears to be spending money twice as fast as it is raising it, the reports show.


The ticket of Alec J. Ross, a former Baltimore teacher, technology policy expert and one-time adviser to Hillary Clinton, and Julie C. Verratti, a lawyer who co-owns the Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring, where she resides, raised $335,854 – but spent $676,720, nearly a third of which went to media consultants and buys.


Among the bigger ticket items was $211,545 paid to Suto Collective, Inc., the San Francisco offices of a Canada-based advertising agency, for online advertising.


The Ross-Verratti ticket had $206,450 on hand as the campaigns enter the final, critical weeks before the primary.


Political paupers


Candidates from the remaining less-mainstream tickets filed affidavits saying they did not intend to receive or spend more than $1,000.


Relative newcomers are James Hugh Jones II, 64, a pastor from Southwest Baltimore, who heads an all-city ticket with lieutenant governor candidate Charles S. Waters, 35, of Northeast Baltimore, another pastor.


Jones has run for public office before, first in 2003, when he ran for president of the Baltimore City Council. He placed fourth in the four-candidate primary race with 770 votes, well behind Sheila A. Dixon, the incumbent who won with 47,736 votes.


In 2007, he also ran for the City Council from West Baltimore’s District 9, but finished third in a three-way primary with 357 votes, losing to incumbent Agnes B. Welch, who received 3,188 votes.


Waters did not file any of the required paperwork Tuesday with the State Board of Elections.


Finally, comes the Jaffe-Jaffe ticket.


Ralph W. Jaffe, 76, a former teacher and perennial candidate for public office, is running for governor on a ticket with his sister, Freda M. Jaffe, 73. Both live at the same address in Baltimore County.


Ralph Jaffe, who has decried the amount of money in politics to anyone who will listen, has made no secret that he would not accept any campaign contributions.


For a summary of the gubernatorial candidates’ campaign finances, click here.


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Campaign Finance Analysis: Hogan’s Riches, Dems’ Mixed Fortunes