Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner has the most money on hand of any of the Democrats vying to be the next Montgomery County executive, according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday.Building on a sizable war chest of nearly half a million dollars, Berliner added another $252,891 in the fundraising period that ended last week. After $130,785 in expenditures, he turns toward the finish line with $605,244 in the bank, far outpacing his rivals.But Berliner’s cash advantage may prove to be immaterial. It is dwarfed by the more than $1.7 million that wealthy Potomac businessman David Blair has already spent on the race.Blair, a former health care executive, has poured $1.6 million of his own money into his campaign, boosting his haul in the January-May reporting period to $1,649,375. Blair has already burned through an astonishing $1,732,160 in campaign cash, vastly beyond what the other candidates have spent combined, and he heads into the final push with $268,397 on hand.Montgomery County Councilman Roger BerlinerBlair appears to have the ability to open the spigot at will, depending on how much of his own fortune he wishes to tap. Last week he received the endorsement of The Washington Post.In Montgomery County, the winner of the June 26 Democratic primary is virtually assured of victory in November. Incumbent executive Isiah Leggett is term-limited, following 12 years in office.Three of the six Democrats vying to become executive are participating in the county’s new public financing system, which was designed to give candidates the ability to tap matching funds if they raised sufficient small-dollar donations.County Councilman Marc B. Elrich raised $78,327 in the just-concluded fundraising period. Combined with his prior efforts, and accounting for $109,049 in expenditures, he heads into the final weeks with $316,100 in the bank. His campaign believes it has qualified for an additional $100,402 in public funds.County Councilman George L. Leventhal raised $25,577 in the latest fundraising period. He had $287,894 cash on hand as of last week, and his campaign has requested $17,994 in public funds.Former Rockville Mayor Rose G. Krasnow raised $54,500 in the last four months. With a month to go, her campaign account contains $223,742. The Krasnow campaign believes it is eligible for $47,470 in public funds.State House Majority Leader C. William Frick, who is not in the public financing system, reported $69,342 in contributions between January and May, and finished the reporting period with $166,346 on hand.Anti-tax activist Robin Ficker, the only Republican in the race for county executive, raised no money in the January-May reporting period. He has $50,248 in the his campaign, including more than $11,000 in loans from the candidates.[email protected]
Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, Va. He’s a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.