Mfume Raking in the Bucks Ahead of Special Election

Former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) is favored to win the April 28 special congressional election. Photo by Josh Kurtz

Throughout his long political career, former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) was never a prodigious fundraiser.

But now that he is the Democratic nominee in the special 7th District election to replace the late Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D) — and likely headed to Congress, at least through the end of the year — Mfume is raising money at a steady clip.

Newly-released campaign finance reports show that between Jan. 16 and April 8, Mfume raised $191,419, spent $279,255 and had $120,801 in his campaign account.

Mfume took 43% of the vote in a 24-candidate special Democratic primary on Feb. 5, and heads into the April 28 special election the strong favorite over Kimberly Klacik (R), a conservative commentator. The 7th District, which takes in parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County, is a Democratic stronghold.

Mfume is simultaneously seeking the Democratic nomination for a full term in the June 2 regular primary against many of the same candidates he defeated in February, including former Maryland Democratic chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the late congressman’s widow, state Sen. Jill P. Carter and state Del. Hassan S. “Jay” Jalisi. The state primary was originally scheduled to coincide with the special election, on April 28, but has been pushed back due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Since winning the primary, Mfume has received campaign cash from an array of national and Maryland political figures, including from likely future colleagues. Rep. David J. Trone (D-Md.) donated $2,800, as did his wife, June Trone. Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D-Md.) contributed $2,000 and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) gave $1,000.

Among Maryland political figures, Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) and state Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) each gave $999. Mfume received $1,000 each from former Maryland Democratic Party chairman Terry Lierman and Jonathan Cordish, whose family owns the Maryland Live! Casino and other developments.

Thomas Kelso, the campaign chairman for Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, donated $2,800. Another prominent figure in Hogan’s orbit, Annapolis lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano, donated $5,600.

Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello (D) donated $500, as did state Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-Prince George’s) and former Baltimore City councilman Nicholas C. D’Adamo (D).

At the national level, Jay Carney, the former White House press secretary under President Obama and now an executive vice president at Amazon, contributed $1,000.

Campaign finance records show that Mfume received at least $44,800 in contributions from political action committees, including from Amazon, the American Federation of Teachers, the International Association of Sheet Metal Workers, and the American Medical Association.

Klacik, Mfume’s Republican opponent in the special election, reported raising $69,853 between Jan. 16 and April 8. She spent $53,319 during that period and finished with $16,534 on hand.

Congressional candidates’ campaign finance reports for the first quarter of 2020 were due with the Federal Election Commission by midnight Wednesday. As of late Thursday night, reports from Jalisi and Carter had not been posted on the FEC website.

As Maryland Matters reported Thursday, Rockeymoore Cummings reported taking in $310,477 between Jan. 6 and March 31 — but that included $200,000 from her own pocket. She had $187,199 in her campaign account.

Million-dollar war chests for incumbents

The newly-submitted quarterly campaign finance reports showed that Maryland’s seven House incumbents are all well-armed financially for re-election. Six of the seven had war chests of more than $1 million, and Trone’s was just short of it. But Trone is a wealthy businessman who has largely self-funded his campaigns.

Here are quick summaries of the seven incumbents’ FEC reports:

District 1: Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R)

Raised: $156,047  Spent: $162,598  Cash: $1,014,761

District 2: Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D)

Raised: $73,836  Spent: $64,240  Cash: $1,054,467

District 3: Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D)

Raised: $138,685  Spent: $103,669  Cash: $1,057,374

District 4: Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D)

Raised: $140,680  Spent: $136,119  Cash: $1,050,643

District 5: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D)

Raised: $553,394  Spent: $424,130  Cash: $1,604,801

District 6: Rep. David J. Trone (D)

Raised: $1,069,782*  Spent: $262,615  Cash: $947,085

*includes a loan of $1,020,000

District 8: Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D)

Raised: $191,174  Spent: $168,387  Cash: $1,081,284

Hoyer, the House majority leader who has served in Congress since 1981, is facing an energetic Democratic primary challenge from the left from Mckayla Wilkes, who has been endorsed by some national progressive groups. Wilkes reported $85,729 in cash on hand after raising $81,268 and spending $88,734.

Notably, Wilkes received a $250 contribution from Rockeymoore Cummings, who is listed as “Maya Rockeymoore” on the candidate’s campaign finance report.

In the 6th District, state Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington) is the likely GOP nominee against Trone. He reported raising $24,687 since Jan. 1, and spending $18,134. He had $114,309 in the bank.

Two Republican state lawmakers are vying in the June 2 primary for the right to take on Ruppersberger in the 2nd District in November. But neither has raised much money.

State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County) reported just $3,563 cash on hand after raising $8,164 and spending $7,800. Del. Richard A. Impallaria (R-Harford) had not even filed a report with the FEC, suggesting that he has yet to raise $5,000, the threshold for candidates for federal office to file campaign finance statements.

[Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation is a financial supporter of Maryland Matters]

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