With 68 days left until the Nov. 8 general election, the heat is on in competitive races for county executive in Anne Arundel, Frederick and Howard counties.
Two Democratic incumbents are vying for re-election in Anne Arundel and Howard, while familiar faces are running to lead Frederick County.
The deadline for the latest campaign finance reports was midnight Tuesday, so here’s a summary on each race, with campaigns reporting cash on hand as of Aug. 23.
A rematch from 2018 between County Executive Calvin Ball (D) and former County Executive Allan Kittleman (R) shows a total campaign war chest between the two at $1.5 million.
After easily garnering the Democratic nomination in last month’s primary election, Ball has about $890,000 cash on hand and raised more than $108,400 during the reporting period, from July 4 to Aug. 23.
Ball, who turns 47 on Friday, seeks to maintain representation along with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks as the only two Black county executives in the state.
Ball thanked supporters in a statement and said the county, under his leadership, is “heading in the right direction.”
“This report shows that the people of Howard County share our vision of clean, green, safe communities where every person’s beliefs are honored and valued,” he said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “As we have always done, we will continue to do the hard work necessary to ensure Howard County is the best place to live, work, play, and grow for all.”
Kittleman, who also faced minor opposition in his primary, reported $631,421 in the bank. He’s participating in the county’s new public financing system.
During this financial reporting period, he received $61,715. With the exception of nearly $28,000 from a prior distribution, the remaining contributions are $250 or less.
In total, Kittleman’s campaign said he has received nearly $230,000 from 1,700 people.
In a statement, Kittleman condemned Ball for accepting donations from developers.
“The support our grassroots campaign is receiving across the county has been incredible,” Kittleman said. “It’s clear that folks are concerned about the direction of our schools, the safety of our community, higher taxes, and the undue influence of large donors, particularly development companies.”
Another Democratic incumbent, County Executive Steuart Pittman, ran unopposed in the July primary.
His campaign reported nearly $620,000 cash on hand as of Aug. 23. He raised slightly more than $93,600 during the reporting period.
Pittman faces County Councilmember Jessica Haire, who defeated four Republicans to win the nomination.
Haire, an attorney elected to council in 2018, has $225,538 cash on hand after she raised $86,844 since July. However, she has an outstanding loan balance of $522,000.
“The report shows what four straight budget votes against our teachers, our police officers, and our firefighters already told us – we can’t trust Jessica Haire to manage a budget,” Pittman said in a statement. “The County received its first ever triple-A bond rating from Moody’s this year, despite Haire voting against the budget every year. I wonder what grade Moody’s would give her campaign’s financial mismanagement.”
In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Haire called Pittman’s statement “nonsensical.”
“The loan [Pittman] refers to is my campaign contribution to myself that I made back in January of this year. He whined about it then. He whined about it some more in the spring and he’s complaining about it now,” she said. “I said repeatedly I believe in this county. I love this county. I’m not just spending other’s people’s money. I put my own money into the race. The fact that he would try and find fault with that is absurd.”
A new face, although familiar, will soon replace the term-limited County Executive Jan Gardner (D).
Democratic Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater has $118,695 in the bank after raising $123,524 since early July.
A few of the contributions include three Maryland congressman: $6,000 from Anthony Brown, who’s running for Maryland attorney general; $5,500 from David Trone; and $4,000 from Jamie Raskin. She also received $2,500 from Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery County).
While thanking them and other supporters, Fitzwater criticized her opponent, Republican state Sen. Michael Hough.
“My opponent’s record in the Maryland General Assembly shows that he is wrong on education, wrong on the environment, and wrong on women’s health,” she said. “In short, he’s wrong for Frederick County.”
But even with the high-profile support, Fitzwater is trailing Hough in fundraising. She faced a multi-candidate primary on July 19 — earning 58% of the vote — while Hough, one of the most prolific fundraisers in the state senate, was unopposed.
Hough has nearly $434,000 cash on hand, or nearly four times the amount of Fitzwater. He raised less than Fitzwater, almost $58,000, during the most recent reporting period.
“We are proud to have a nearly 4-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over Jessica Fitzwater. Her report showed that a large chunk of her donations came from liberal politicians who want to turn us into Montgomery County North,” Hough said in an email Wednesday. “We are leading in every matrix and we look forward to winning in November to stop Frederick County from being overtaxed and overdeveloped.”