Hot Fundraising Numbers for Hot House Races

With so much focus on Republicans’ bid to pick up five state Senate seats this November – which would enable them to sustain Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s (R) vetoes, assuming he wins a second term – competitive House races aren’t getting nearly as much attention. While Republicans are targeting at least six Senate seats, it appears as if House Democrats are playing offense in more districts than they are on defense. The candidates’ latest fundraising reports, which were made public Tuesday, show the contours of the most competitive races. Currently, Democrats hold a 91-50 edge in the House. It takes 85 votes to override a governor’s veto. Over the course of the last two election cycles, Republicans have picked up 14 House seats. What follows are fundraising totals and analysis in the eight most competitive races. They cover the period June 11-Aug. 21. District 2B – Washington County The race in this subdistrict, based in Hagerstown, features one of the legislature’s newest members, Del. Paul D. Corderman (R), against the former chairman of the Washington County Democratic Central Committee, Peter E. Perini Sr. Corderman, a former Hagerstown city councilman, was appointed to the seat late last year to replace former Del. Brett Wilson (R), who became a Circuit Court judge. Washington County sent Democrats to Annapolis as recently as 2014, and President Trump carried District 2B by less than 500 votes two years ago. The two candidates are very close on the fundraising front. Del. Paul D. Corderman (R)Previous balance: $6,069Receipts: $35,850Expenditures: $9,675Cash on hand: $32,244 Peter E. Perini Sr. (D)Previous balance: $28,090Receipts: $2,880Expenditures: $191Cash on hand: $30,779 District 3B – Frederick County This subdistrict, south of the city of Frederick, is starting to look a little more like nearby Montgomery County these days, demographically and politically, and Democrats think they have a shot against first-term Del. William Folden (R). The Democratic nominee is Ken Kerr, a community college professor and elected member of the Frederick County Board of Education. Del. William Folden (R)Previous balance: $37,761Receipts: $20,600Expenditures: $8,382Cash on hand: $49,978 Ken Kerr (D)Previous balance: $9,565Receipts: $7,707Expenditures: $3,321Cash on hand: $13,951 District 8 – Baltimore County This is one of the swingiest of the state’s swing districts. It is hosting one of the most competitive state Senate elections of the year, and has had a partisan split in the House delegation for decades. Two of the district’s incumbents, Del. Eric Bromwell (D) and Del. Joe Cluster (R), are favored to return. Which means the other four candidates – former Del. Joseph C. Boteler III and businessman Joe Norman on the Republican side, and former school administrator Harry Bhandari and university administrator Carl Jackson for the Democrats – may effectively be competing for one seat, with the other incumbent, Del. Christian J. Miele (R), running for Senate. Bhandari had far and away the most money as of Aug. 21. And Bromwell’s take could get bigger this fall since he will become vice chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee in 2019, assuming he returns. Joseph C. Boteler III (R)Previous balance: $7,954Receipts: $200Expenditures: $2,887Cash on hand: $5,266 Del. Joe Cluster (R)Previous balance: $35,663Receipts: $8,255Expenditures: $9,185Cash on hand: $34,732 Joe Norman (R)Previous balance: $13,410Receipts: $380Expenditures: $3,688Cash on hand: $10,102 Harry Bhandari (D)Previous balance: $53,375Receipts: $27,790Expenditures: $5,682Cash on hand: $75,484 Del. Eric Bromwell (D)Previous balance: $76,184Receipts: $11,750Expenditures: $4,976Cash on hand: $82,957 Carl Jackson (D)Previous balance: $15,365Receipts: $13,130Expenditures: $7,909Cash on hand: $20,586 District 9B – Howard County  Courtney Watson This may be the marquee House race of the cycle, featuring two political heavyweights – Del. Robert L. Flanagan (R), who is finishing his fifth term in Annapolis, and former Howard County Councilwoman Courtney Watson (D), who ran unsuccessfully for county executive four years ago. Flanagan is one of the smartest and canniest lawmakers around, but Watson is a relentless campaigner, and their war chests are almost identical. Del. Robert L. Flanagan (R)Previous balance: $54,630Receipts: $0Expenditures: $514Cash on hand: $54,115 Courtney Watson (D)Previous balance: $41,176Receipts: $23,220Expenditures: $10,669Cash on hand: $53,727 District 29B – St. Mary’s County Democrats are sky-high on their candidate, Brian M. Crosby, an Army ranger and attorney. But the district, based around the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, is very conservative. First-term Del. Deb Rey (R) was a giant-killer in 2014, ousting then-Del. John C. Bohanan, a rising star in House leadership. She has a significant fundraising advantage as well. Del. Deb Rey (R)Previous balance: $33,099Receipts: $14,855Expenditures: $11,853Cash on hand: $36,101 Brian M. Crosby (D)Previous balance: $20,279Receipts: $8,551Expenditures: $15,390Cash on hand: $13,440 District 30A – Anne Arundel County This is the home turf for House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D), based in Annapolis, but the second seat in the district was held for the past four years by Del. Herb McMillan (R), who chose not to seek reelection. This gives Democrats a chance to pick up McMillan’s seat, and they’re high on their second candidate, Alice Cain, a former Capitol Hill staffer and leader of an education think-tank. The Republicans in the race – both dangerously underfunded – are Chelsea Gill, a scheduler, and Bob O’Shea, a business consultant. Chelsea Gill (R)Previous balance: $2,044Receipts: $394Expenditures: $729Cash on hand: $1,710 Bob O’Shea (R)No fundraising activities or campaign expenditures reported Del. Michael E. Busch (D)Previous balance: $578,144Receipts: $57,980Expenditures: $381,471Cash on hand: $254,652 Alice Cain (D)Previous balance: $28,911Receipts: $34,220Expenditures: $36,310Cash on hand: $26,820 District 31A – Anne Arundel County First-term Del. Ned Carey (D) has a decent-sized war chest, but in a conservative district, Democrats always have to be careful. The Republican, Army veteran and businessman Brooks Bennett, is a solid candidate. Brooks Bennett (R)Previous balance: $14,779Receipts: $7,067Expenditures: $790Cash on hand: $21,057 Del. Ned Carey (D)Previous balance: $73,383Receipts: $12,437Expenditures: $3,833Cash on hand: $81,988 District 34A – Harford County Del. Mary Ann Lisanti is the last Democrat standing in Harford County right now. But in a cycle when she could be targeted, she has shown fundraising and political strength and has organized Democrats in the county up and down the ballot. The Republican incumbent in this subdistrict, Del. Glen Glass, has been a weak fundraiser. Many political professionals were surprised when Havre de Grace City Councilwoman Monica Worrell did not emerge from the Republican primary; she would have been a strong contender in the general election. The other candidates this November are J.D. Russell (R), who owns a real estate management company, and small businessman Steve Johnson (D). Del. Glen Glass (R)Previous balance: $2,529Receipts: $0Expenditures: $580Cash on hand: $1,948 J.D. Russell (R)Previous balance: $7,504Receipts: $26,285 (includes a $20,000 loan)Expenditures: $23,881Cash on hand: $9,907 Steve Johnson (D)Previous balance: $2,685Receipts: $300Expenditures: $0Cash on hand: $2,985 Del. Mary Ann Lisanti (D)Previous balance: $54,535Receipts: $6,350Expenditures: $27,529Cash on hand: $33,356 [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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