Here’s a Look at Fundraising in a Dozen Key State Senate Districts
The General Assembly’s legislative map has just become law — though it will be subject to lawsuits. And the candidate filing deadline is only three weeks away.
So here is our first attempt to take a snapshot look at what we believe will be the dozen most competitive state Senate races in Maryland this cycle. Some have competitive primaries, some have competitive general elections, and a couple, potentially, have both.
A couple of caveats: If the Maryland Court of Appeals redraws the district lines, that will scramble some of our calculations. And a last-minute candidacy could shake up a race, too. So some of these elections may fall off the competitive list when all is said and done; others might be added to it. For example, we don’t expect Prince George’s County Del. Alonzo T. Washington to challenge Sen. Paul G. Pinsky in the District 22 Democratic primary on June 28, but if he does, that race would automatically vault to near the top of this list and become one of the most competitive primaries in the state.
Candidates filed their annual campaign finance reports a little over a week ago, covering fundraising and spending activities from mid-January of 2021 to this Jan. 12. That seemed like a good time to assess some of these races — and look at the fundraising numbers.
Democrats currently hold a 32-15 seat advantage in the state Senate. Will those numbers change much come January 2023? We have nine months to find out.
We’ve got capsule analysis of 12 Senate districts, followed by fundraising figures. Our campaign finance summaries show what the candidates had in their campaign accounts as of January 2021, the start of the fundraising year; what they raised and spent in the previous year; and their cash on hand as of Jan. 12. If they made loans to their campaigns or carried campaign debt, we noted that as well.
1st District (Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties)
With veteran Sen. George C. Edwards (R) retiring, the action to replace him is in the Republican primary, where Del. Michael W. McKay and Allegany County Commissioner Jake Shade are in a showdown. Their fundraising hauls over the past year were substantially similar, but Shade had more cash in his campaign account as of Jan. 12. Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) was supposed to headline a fundraiser for Shade in Annapolis earlier this month, but it was postponed due to COVID-19. No Democrats have filed for the seat.
Previous cash on hand: $19,825. Raised: $38,950, Spent: $11,373, Cash on hand: $47,401.
Previous: $28,269. Raised: $42,430, Spent: $401, Cash on hand: $70,297.
3rd District (Frederick County)
Sen. Ronald N. Young (D), who has been a fixture in Frederick politics since the late 1960’s, is stepping down, and his wife, Del. Karen Lewis Young (D), has stepped up to replace him. But she’s not just going to waltz into the job: Frederick County Board of Education member Jonathan “Jay” Mason is competing for the Democratic nomination, and Gulf War veteran Angela McIntosh (R) is also running. The district has increasingly become a Democratic stronghold.
Previous: $0. Raised: $4,000, Spent: $784, Cash on hand: $3,215.
Previous: $0. Raised: $9,796 (including $1,076 in loans from the candidate), Spent: $50, Cash on hand: $9,746.
Previous: $23,477. Raised: $32,499, Spent: $2,676, Cash on hand: $53,300.
4th District (Frederick and Carroll counties)
With Sen. Michael J. Hough (R) running for Frederick County executive, his seat is open, and the Republican primary will likely determine the winner. Del. Jesse T. Pippy (R) was out of the gate early and said he planned to run for the seat, but several weeks later, he withdrew, saying he needed time to regroup and focus on his family. Since then, he hasn’t said anything publicly about his political plans, but he has been raising money pretty steadily, so he may well become a candidate for the seat in the days leading up to the filing deadline. Also running: former Del. William Folden (R), who represented nearby District 3B for four years but now lives in District 4; Stephen Barrett (R), who runs building contracting and recycling businesses; and Carleah M. Summers (D), who runs a nonprofit recovery foundation. Summers only recently got into the race and reported no financial activity as of Jan. 12.
Previous: $0. Raised: $7,925 (includes $7,500 in loans he made to the campaign), Spent: $1,903, Cash on hand: $6,021.
Previous: $8,323. Raised: $30,687 (includes $487 in loans), Spent: $4,635, Cash on hand: $34,375.
Previous: $52,673. Raised: $52,825, Spent: $4,367, Cash on hand: $101,131 (the campaign is carrying a debt of $11,500 in loans from the candidate from the previous election cycle).
9th District (Howard and Montgomery counties under new district lines)
This is certain to be one of the most competitive Senate races of the general election, but the new map, as drawn by Democrats, seeks to shore up first-term Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D), who upset then-Sen. Gail H. Bates (R) in a fairly conservative district in 2018. The district is centered in Ellicott City, but conservative precincts from Carroll County were taken out and the district moved south into northernmost Montgomery County, somewhat more competitive territory. Del. Reid J. Novotny (R) plans to take Hester on. His fundraising has been respectable, but Hester’s has been impressive, and her campaign war chest tops $300,000.
Previous: $13,526. Raised: $47,337, Spent: $16,065, Cash on hand: $44,798 (Novotny is carrying $54,091 in debt from his unsuccessful 2018 campaign for Senate).
Previous: $112,598. Raised: $239,891, Spent: $46,142, Cash on hand: $306, 347.
18th District (Montgomery County)
Sen. Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (D), seeking his second term in the upper chamber after spending 12 years in the House, faces a Democratic primary challenge on the left from Max Socol. Socol, who has racked up some intriguing endorsements, is no slouch on the money-raising front either, pulling in $103,000 since joining the race. But Waldstreicher — who recently pulled in endorsements from two progressive champions, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) and state Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore City) — is a dogged fundraiser and had more than five times as much cash on hand as his challenger as of Jan. 12.
Previous: $0. Raised: $103,724, Spent: $20,675, Cash on hand: $83,048.
Previous: $235,348. Raised: $227,569, Spent: $32,254, Cash on hand: $430,663.
23rd District (Prince George’s County)
Sen. Ronald L. Watson (D) was appointed to the seat last year and he’s putting together his own team, in part because the legislature has unified all of the district’s House seats into one district — it will no longer be broken up into two subdistricts. Sylvia Johnson (D), a local businesswoman, was preparing to run for the Senate seat even before there was a vacancy and Watson was appointed, and she remains in the race.
Previous: $0. Raised: $143,117 (includes $50,000 in contributions from the candidate and $36,250 in loans from the candidate), Spent: $87,879, Cash on hand: $55,237.
Previous: $10,448. Raised: $111,389, Spent: $46,160, Cash on hand: $75,676.
26th District (Prince George’s County)
There’s still a lot we don’t know about this race, but the possibilities are tantalizing. Will Sen. Obie Patterson (D), who turns 84 in March, seek another term? He’s raised enough money to look like a candidate. Will Del. Jay Walker (D), who has been eyeing the seat for a few election cycles, make the plunge, or will he run for re-election? Already two ministers are running: the Rev. C. Anthony Muse (D), who previously held the seat, has also served in the House and twice ran unsuccessfully for county executive; and the Rev. Charles Winston McNeill Jr., a Baptist preacher who got into the race two weeks ago so reported no fundraising activity in the previous year. This will be a wild race if all the potential players hit the starting gate. On top of that, Walker’s wife, former Prince George’s County Councilmember Monique Walker-Anderson (D), is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket headed by state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D).
Previous: $0. Raised: $133.392 (includes a $125,000 loan from the candidate), Spent: $242, Cash on hand: $133,150 (the campaign is also carrying $100,000 in debts from prior races).
Previous: $72,404. Raised: $26,903, Spent: $6,766, Cash on hand: $92,540 (the campaign is carrying $74,500 in debt from previous races).
Previous: $31,267. Raised: $12,400, Spent: $14,717, Cash on hand: $28,950.
30th District (Anne Arundel County)
First-term Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth (D) is one of the hardest-working lawmakers in Annapolis and a strong fundraiser as well. But her district turns swing-y in bad cycles for Democrats, and this could wind up being one of them. Elfreth is likely to be challenged by Stacie MacDonald (R), a businesswoman and conservative activist who ran unsuccessfully for the House in District 33 four years ago and is contemplating a move into District 30. MacDonald is a self-funder who endeared herself to some conservatives by helping fund the high-profile lawsuit last year seeking to block Democratic Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman’s ban on in-person dining in county restaurants. Pittman eventually abandoned the policy.
Previous: $207,009. Raised: $0, Spent: $169,636, Cash on hand: $37,372 (the campaign reported $150,000 in debt, representing loans the candidate made).
Previous: $109,983. Raised: $193,712, Spent: $34,343, Cash on hand: $269,352.
32nd District (Anne Arundel County)
County Councilmember Sarah F. Lacey (D) last year announced her intention to challenge Sen. Pamela G. Beidle (D), a veteran lawmaker, saying COVID-19 had convinced her that the county’s Annapolis delegation needed new blue and fresh approaches to governing. Lacey is far behind on the fundraising front, though, and Beidle is liked and admired by her colleagues. Could this be a competitive primary still? Maybe. One thing that’s striking, though, is that the district only recently was considered to be purple in general elections, but that no longer appears to be the case.
Previous: $118,927. Raised: $130,003, Spent: $26,718, Cash on hand: $222,211.
Previous: $2,555. Raised: $22,955, Spent: $20,814, Cash on hand: $4,695.
33rd District (Anne Arundel County)
This once-reliable Republican district was turning more purple anyway, and then Democrats helped it along during the latest round of redistricting. Despite being a veteran officeholder and popular figure, Sen. Edward R. Reilly (R) is now vulnerable, and Democrats are becoming increasingly bullish about their likely nominee, lawyer and nonprofit executive Dawn Gile, who actually outraised Reilly over the past year, though he had more money in the bank as of Jan. 12. MacDonald has currently filed to run against Reilly in the GOP primary, but she’s far more likely to try her luck against Elfreth in District 30 — and avoid a messy primary.
Previous: $61,626. Raised: $63,280, Spent: $26,918, Cash on hand: $99,908.
Previous: $0. Raised: $73,899, Spent: $11,643, Cash on hand: $62,256.
District 34 (Harford County)
Sen. Robert G. Cassilly (R) is departing the Senate after two terms to run for Harford County executive and there are spirited primaries in both parties to replace him. The district leans Republican, especially in Republican years, but both Democratic candidates are well-known so it should be a intense general election. The Republican race features former Del. Christian J. Miele, who represented a Baltimore County district from 2015 to 2019, and businessman Walter “Butch” Tilley III. The Democratic race features controversial Del. Mary Ann Lisanti and former Del. Mary-Dulany James, who lost to Cassilly in 2014 and 2018. The Republican race is much farther along from a fundraising standpoint. James had no fundraising activity in the previous year and no money in her campaign account, though she carried a $101,453 debt from her 2014 campaign for Senate.
Previous: $5,363. Raised: $65,339 (includes $17,501 in donations from his own pocket), Spent: $7,490, Cash on hand: $63,212 (the campaign is carrying $21,717 in debts from the 2018 election).
Previous: $21,089. Raised: $40,120, Spent: $17,545, Cash on hand: $43,663.
Previous: $771. Raised: $11,011, Spent: $2,292, Cash on hand: $9,849 (the campaign is carrying a $56,536 debt from previous campaigns).
37th District (Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico counties)
It’s looking increasingly likely that Del. John F. “Johnny” Mautz IV will challenge Sen. Adelaide C. Eckardt in the Republican primary. He hasn’t made a formal announcement yet, but he’s been raising money at a rapid clip and is liable to complain that Eckardt, a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee, has worked too closely with Democrats over the years. Eckardt won the Senate seat in 2014 after two decades in the House of Delegates. This could well be a generational battle as well; Eckardt is 78 and Mautz is 51.
Previous: $60,348. Raised: $34,030, Spent: $13,008, Cash on hand: $81,370.
Previous: $108,336. Raised: $74,000, Spent: $28,902, Cash on hand: $153,434.