Maryland’s seven largest counties will elect – or reelect – county executives next week, and five of those races are highly competitive.
At least three of the biggest counties – Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s – will have new executives beginning in December. Prince George’s State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) is unopposed in the race to replace two-term County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) – and whether she likes it or not, she’ll immediately be seen as a leading contender for governor in 2022, if Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) wins a second term.
But the number of new executives could increase depending on how incumbents fare in Anne Arundel, Frederick and Howard counties. The only incumbent who does not appear to have to sweat Election Day is Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R), who is the overwhelming favorite to win a second term over Democrat Maryann Connaghan Forgan.
What follows is an analysis of the campaign finance reports in the five most competitive elections for county executive. These reports cover campaign fundraising and expenditures between Aug. 22 and Oct. 21.
The eighth member of the state’s so-called Big Eight, the mayor of Baltimore, is elected in presidential election years.
Anne Arundel County
Incumbent executive Steven R. Schuh (R) spent more than three times his Democratic challenger, horse farmer Steuart Pittman, in the last two months. The figures keep pace with candidates’ fundraising throughout the election cycle.
Steven R. Schuh (R)
Prior balance: $997,003
Cash on hand: $393,768
Steuart Pittman (D)
Prior balance: $322,602
Cash on hand: $168,816
Maryland Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. (R) raised nearly half of all contributions in his campaign in the last two months. Redmer reported receiving $532,838 since late August, compared to $580,656 during the rest of the election cycle. Redmer reported $451,158 in individual contributions, bolstered by fundraising ticket sales and transfers from political action committees and other candidates.
Even so, former state Del. John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. still out-raised Redmer, bringing in more than $587,000. As of last week, Olszewski had more than $243,000 cash on hand, more than double the amount remaining in Redmer’s coffers.
The two East Baltimore County politicians are competing for the right to replace County Executive Don Mohler (D), who is serving on an interim basis following the sudden death in May of the two-term executive, Kevin B. Kamenetz (D).
Alfred W. Redmer Jr. (R)
Prior balance: $118,748
Cash on hand: $90,872
John A. Olszewski Jr. (D)
Prior balance: $370,761
Cash on hand: $243,232
Incumbent Jan Gardner (D) heads into the final stretch of the campaign having spent 36 percent more than Del. Kathryn Afzali (R) in the last two months and with slightly less cash on hand.
Gardner and Afzali brought in similar new receipts during the reporting period, though Afzali’s campaign is also boosted by the Frederick Republican Victory Slate.
Kathryn Afzali (R)
Prior balance: $107,546
Cash on hand: $55,941
Jan Gardner (D)
Prior balance: $145,833
Cash on hand: $53,931
County Executive Allan Kittleman (R) has a nearly $95,000 cash advantage over his challenger, Democratic County Councilman Calvin Ball. After being out-raised for two funding cycles in a row, Kittleman brought in more than twice the amount of Ball’s contributions in the last two months. After starting the year with a huge fundraising advantage, Kittleman temporarily curtailed his money-raising activities this summer following devastating flooding in Ellicott City.
Allan Kittleman (R)
Prior balance: $689,878
Cash on hand: $268,253
Calvin Ball (D)
Prior balance: $390,230
Cash on hand: $173,992
This improbable three-way general election to replace term-limited Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is heading for a wild and uncertain finish, with the two traditional party nominees, County Councilman Marc B. Elrich (D) and attorney Robin Ficker (R) bolstered by the money they are getting from their participation in the county’s new public financing system. Meanwhile, County Councilwoman Nancy M. Floreen, a Democrat-turned-independent, is being funded largely by the county’s real estate industry.
Elrich has reported collecting more than $1.2 million from public financing so far. Ficker’s take is closing in on $250,000.
Robin Ficker (R) – financial activity from Oct. 2-21
Prior balance: $137,734
Additional matching fund requested: $5,330
Cash on hand: $67,236
Marc B. Elrich (D) – financial activity from Oct. 16-21
Prior balance: $470,632
Additional matching funds requested: $0
Cash on hand: $197,611
Nancy Floreen (I) – financial activity from Aug. 22-Oct. 21
Prior balance: $135,724
Cash on hand: $119,944