Mizeur Grabs Headlines But Harris Has Bigger Campaign Treasury

District 1 Congressman Andrew P. Harris (R) and Democratic challenger Heather Mizeur greet each other at the 2021 J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake. Photo by Hannah Gaskill.

Former state Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D) grabbed headlines earlier this month, when she announced that she had raised more than $1 million this year for her bid to oust U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R) in the 1st congressional district.

But through Sept. 30, Harris still had a substantial advantage in cash on hand.

According to newly filed campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission, the six-term congressman had $1,386,304 in his campaign account, after raising $160,280 between July 1 and Sept. 30. He reported spending $65,828 during that period. Overall, Harris has raised $587,402 during the 2022 election cycle.

Mizeur, by contrast, reported raising $339,127 in the third quarter of the year — and $1,056,572 overall since declaring her candidacy in January. She has spent $291,836 so far this year, including $134,980 between July 1 and Sept. 30. She finished the reporting period with $764,680 in her campaign war chest.

Mizeur’s campaign has become a cause célèbre in progressive circles, and she has vacuumed up donations from an array of Democratic leaders, in Maryland and nationally, as well as from Annapolis lobbyists and certain figures in the Maryland business world.

But the fundamentals in the 1st District as it’s currently drawn, taking in the entire Eastern Shore as well as parts of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties, still heavily favor Harris — despite the political energy propelling Mizeur’s campaign.

One of the big questions when the Maryland General Assembly convenes in early December to draw new congressional maps is how dramatically the district boundaries will change — and whether the 1st becomes more hospitable to Democrats. Mizeur’s strong fundraising, however, may pressure Democrats, who control the redistricting process in Annapolis, to design a more competitive 1st District.

Most of Mizeur’s campaign expenses over the past three months went to staff salaries and fundraising expenses. But she did report paying $14,500 to Spiros Consulting, a Washington, D.C., Democratic opposition research firm.

Harris’ expenditures included a $600 payment to Carrie Simmons-Sparrow, a Maryland Republican operative, for opposition research.

Another Democratic candidate, foreign policy strategist R. David Harden, had $111,125 in the bank on Sept. 30 after raising $76,574 during the previous three months. Overall, he has raised $200,265 during the 2022 election cycle.

In every other congressional race in Maryland, incumbents retain a huge fundraising advantage over their challengers, and unless district lines change significantly, are all favored to win reelection. Here are the highlights:

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), who is up for a second term in 2022, reported $3,932,022 in his campaign account after raising $1,001,971 over the previous three months. He spent $183,859 between July 1 and Sept. 30 — including $56,000 to Hart Associates, the national Democratic polling firm. Overall, Van Hollen has raised $5,423,355 since his last election in 2016.

The only other Senate candidate to report fundraising activity to the FEC was Republican James Tarantin, a businessman who had $45,027 on hand.

Some Republicans hold out hope that popular Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) will make a last-minute bid for Senate — creating the marquee, tossup race that Democrats have been hoping to avoid. But Hogan has repeatedly thrown cold water on the idea, most recently telling Politico, “Being one of 100 people and arguing all day and getting nothing done just doesn’t have a big appeal for me.”

2nd District

Ten-term Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) was sitting on $1,319,835 on Sept. 30 after raising $136,428 since July 1. Ruppersberger faces a Democratic primary challenge from Brittany T. Oliver, a progressive activist. Oliver reported raising $43,963 during her first quarter as a candidate and banking $23,140. No Republicans have reported any fundraising activity.

3rd District

Eight-term Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D) has eased off considerably on his fundraising activities this election cycle, raising just $13,476 during the third quarter of the year and $37,242 overall, as he promotes his political reform legislation, The For the People Act. But the congressman retained $956,803 in his war chest as of Sept. 30.

Two other candidates reported fundraising activity to the FEC: Engineer Malcolm Colombo, a Democrat, had $1,313 in his campaign account on Sept. 30; conservative activist Antonio Pitocco, a Republican, reported $1,636 in the bank as of June 30.

4th District

Third-term Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) continues to be active on the fundraising front, taking in $164,087 over the past three months and ending September with $1,530,693 in the bank. He has collected $566,401 so far this election cycle. He was the only candidate in the 4th District to report any fundraising activity.

5th District

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D), the House majority leader and senior member of the state’s congressional delegation, continues to lead the way on the fundraising front — largely a testament to his powerful position on Capitol Hill. He raised $562,219 between July 1 and Sept. 30 — and has taken in $1,487,771 overall this election cycle.

Hoyer finished September with $1,085,215 on hand. But his campaign committee is something of a pass-through to help fellow Democrats. Of the $438,258 he reported spending in the third quarter, $100,000 went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $35,000 went to the Maryland Democratic Party, and another $7,500 went to Democratic candidates around the country.

Hoyer is facing a rematch in the 2022 Democratic primary with progressive activist Mckayla Wilkes, who took 27% of the vote in the 2020 primary. She reported $33,564 on hand after raising $24,235 in the latest quarter. Overall, she has raised $79,267 for the 2022 campaign.

Republican Chris Palombi, a website programmer who was the 2020 nominee against Hoyer is running again, but he did not report any fundraising activity, according to FEC reports.

6th District

Second-term Rep. David J. Trone (D), a wealthy businessman, continues to largely seed his campaigns with his own money. He reported receipts of $213,087 in the third quarter of the year — but $200,000 came from his own pocket. Overall, Trone has contributed $450,000 of the $485,451 his campaign has taken in so far this election cycle — and he’s equipped to put in far more as necessary. He had $96,937 in the bank as of Sept. 30.

Trone’s 2020 Republican challenger, Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington), is trying again. He reported $217,181 in the bank on Sept. 30 after raising $63,298 over the previous three months. Overall, he’s raised $117,610 for the campaign this cycle. Another GOP candidate, software engineer Jonathan Jenkins, reported $6,896 in his campaign fund.

Former Del. Aruna Miller (D) opened a campaign account at the beginning of this election cycle in case Trone decided to run for governor in 2022. Though she’s largely suspended fundraising activities since Trone announced plans to run for reelection, she retained $276,345 in the bank as of Sept. 30 — and could become a candidate if new congressional maps present an opportunity.

7th District

Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D), now in his second congressional tour of duty, had $340,708 in the bank after raising $38,203 between July 1 and Sept. 30. He’s raised $139,795 so far this election cycle.

No other candidates have filed fundraising reports with the FEC, but Kimberly Klacik, a conservative who ran a high-profile long-shot campaign for the seat last year and raised a whopping $9 million-plus for the race, retained $459,009 in her account as of Sept. 30.

8th District

Third-term Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D) has been a prodigious fundraiser since he played a prominent role in the second impeachment of former President Trump earlier this year. He took in $362,695 in the third quarter of the year — and $1,448,917 so far this election cycle — and finished the quarter with $1,880,165 in the bank. Of the $311,490 he spent over the past three months, $50,000 went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $13,000 went to Democratic congressional candidates.

Republican Mariela Roca, a medical logistics specialist and Air Force veteran, reported $12,332 in her campaign treasury as of Sept. 30.

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Josh Kurtz
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran 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 was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.