New County Execs Find Campaign Cash Flowing Their Way

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D).

Maryland’s new county executives are quickly learning the joys of incumbency – when it comes to political fundraising.

Outraised significantly by their opponents in their come-from-behind victories last year, some of the newbies are finding money freely flowing their way, according to their latest campaign finance reports, released this week.

Take Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D), an underdog against Republican incumbent Allan Kittleman in 2018. Between Nov. 14 and Jan. 9, he took in $170,970, spurred on by 71 donations of $1,000 or more – many of them from real estate interests and other business leaders. He reported $142,603 on hand as of Jan. 9.

The new county executives – and the holdovers – took office in early December, and the latest financial reporting period covered the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when fundraising activity is presumably slow.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) had a small deficit in his campaign account immediately after Election Day, after defeating Republican incumbent Steve Schuh. But since mid-November, he raised $86,615, campaign records show, including 36 contributions of $1,000 or more. He finished the reporting period with $23,222.

Baltimore County Executive John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. (D), who was outraised significantly by his two Democratic primary opponents before crushing State Insurance Commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. (R) in November, has had no trouble collecting money since his election. He reported raising $109,180 in the two-month period and banked $75,886.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who faced no general election opposition after convincingly winning a multi-candidate Democratic primary, raised $53,285 after Nov. 14 and had $150,439 on hand last week.

In contrast to the other newcomers, Montgomery County Executive Marc B. Elrich (D), who participated in the county’s new public financing system en route to winning a competitive six-way primary and a three-way general election, raised just $3,024 since Nov. 14 and had $857 in the bank. He is certain to use public financing again if he seeks reelection in 2022.

Pugh makes a statement

The three holdover members of the state’s “Big Eight” executives had wildly divergent campaign war chests at the beginning of this year.

Not surprisingly, Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) – who is up for reelection in 2020 – had the most robust campaign treasury, fueled by developers and business interests. She reported $968,790 on hand after raising $593,327.

Baltimore Brew on Thursday published an excellent run-down of Pugh’s campaign donors.

Pugh’s war chest dwarfs the bankrolls of other potential candidates for mayor – at least those who are current or former politicians with active campaign accounts.

Of these potential challengers, City Councilman Brandon M. Scott (D) reported $143,039 after taking in $84,350 between Nov. 14 and Jan. 9. But that figure included a transfer from the Shea-Scott for Maryland slate; Scott had served as the running mate for unsuccessful gubernatorial contender James L. Shea in 2018. Notably, Scott received a $3,000 contribution from former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D).

Another possible contender, state Sen. William C. Ferguson IV (D), reported $72,418. Former mayor Sheila Dixon (D), who considered running for state Senate in 2018 and has not ruled out another run for City Hall, reported $10,561 on hand.

Killer G’s

The other two holdover “Big Eight” members are Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R) and Frederick County Executive Jan H. Gardner (D).

Glassman, who glided to reelection last fall and is seen as a possible candidate for governor in 2022, reported $299,587 in his campaign account as of Jan. 9. Gardner, who won a tough reelection battle, had $7,727 on hand.

Statewide elected officials

Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D), already flirting with a 2022 gubernatorial bid, had far and away the most money on hand of any statewide elected official. He reported $1,023,138 in the bank after raising $87,250 since Nov. 14.

By contrast, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) reported $110,529 on hand; Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R), another potential candidate for governor, had $3,381. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), despite being term limited, reported $376,743 on hand.

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