Skip to main content
Government & Politics

Treasurer Davis staying prepared with fundraiser — but what office is in his future?

Treasurer Dereck Davis (D). Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

State Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) is keeping his options open.

Davis, who has been in the position since December 2021, is holding a fundraiser in August.

Just in case.

That’s unusual for a state treasurer.

Davis, in an interview Wednesday called the fundraising “automatic,” the result of being in public office for three decades.

“It’s not necessarily that I’m eyeing something or I’m making plans to leave. I’m not,” Davis said. “I am extremely happy and grateful for this opportunity that I have but I think I’m still young enough, not young anymore, but still young enough that I don’t know what my future holds. But I do want to be prepared.”

State treasurer isn’t known for being a launching point to political office, so there usually isn’t a need to raise money.

Many — Nancy Kopp, Richard Dixon and J. Millard Tawes to name a few — landed the job after holding other elected offices.

Just a few of the 24 people who held the position through Maryland history went on to hold elected office, but usually after a gap of two or three years.

One might have thought Davis’ electoral politics phase was over after landing the treasurer’s job.

He served 26 years in the House of Delegates representing Prince George’s County. During that time, he chaired the House Economic Matters Committee and was a strong contender for speaker of the House in 2019.

But in 2021, Davis ran for treasurer, succeeding Kopp, who retired. He was re-elected earlier this year. The election for the position is decided by a different set of voters — the Maryland General Assembly.

Maryland’s treasurer falls into a bit of a gray area when it comes to campaign finance law.

State law bars the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general and members of the General Assembly from fundraising when the legislature is in session. That prohibition does not apply to a state treasurer.

Davis’ fundraising may entice some donors who believe such contributions would allow them to influence a member of the Board of Public Works, which approves high-dollar state contracts.

The money raised would also be available for Davis to transfer to other candidates — including members of the legislature, who could determine how long he stays in office.

Davis, who turned 56 earlier this month, currently has an active state campaign account. He has roughly $61,000 on hand, according to the most recent report filed in January with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

But in August, Davis is holding a $250, $500 and $1,000 per person event at a rooftop bar in Annapolis.

“I enjoy being treasurer,” Davis said. “I hope to do it for a long time, assuming that my electorate wants me to. I also know I have a lot to offer and I enjoy being in service. My goal with this as with anything is just you stay prepared at all times. As we like to say you don’t get ready, you stay ready. You never know when the appropriate opportunity may come along and you need to be prepared, for me anyway. I don’t believe in just sort of sitting around and then when things happen, then you’ve got to get ready.”

The retirement of Sen. Ben Cardin (D) will ignite some jockeying for positions in Davis’ home county.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) has declared her candidacy for U.S. Senate and is racking up endorsements.

Should she win, her old job would be up for grabs, and even if she loses, she’ll be termed out in 2026.

Davis, who worked for decades for Prince George’s County government and is mentioned as a possible candidate for county executive, so far isn’t committing to anything.

“I hadn’t even given that any thought,” he said. “It’s just preparation. I’m honestly not eyeing anything in particular. You just never know what could happen.”

The treasurer said he isn’t concerned about drawing ire from other prospective candidates who may take issue with his fundraising despite not having declared himself a candidate for any office.

“I think folks that give to me, they give to me because they are supportive of me and the things that I’ve done,” Davis said. “I don’t think that it’s necessarily taken away from other candidates. I think it’s a leap to assume that hey, if they weren’t giving to Dereck Davis, then that would automatically go to somebody else. They very well could just keep it in their pocket.”

By law, when Davis left the House and was sworn in as treasurer, the expiration date began running on his campaign account.

State law requires candidates to close their accounts and file a final campaign finance report eight years after they leave office or their last election.

In Davis’ case, that eight years started in December of 2021.

Davis said discussions with state elections officials lead him to believe that “the clock hasn’t started.”

“I don’t think that rule you’re talking about applies to me because I am treasurer,” he said. “While it’s not the same election, some of the counsel that I’ve been given, I’m still OK.”

Those discussions appear to be informal.

State elections officials confirmed that they have not issued an advisory opinion related to questions about fundraising by the treasurer. No request is pending.

One thing is certain: Davis can legally raise money until the end of 2029. That deadline would reset should Davis run for any office, including a central committee slot. He doesn’t even have to win.

“It would just be just like any other candidate,” said Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the Maryland State Board of Elections. “Just because you’ve left office, if you’re in that window, you can raise money. And when you fundraise in Maryland, it’s attached to the individual candidate, not to the office sought.”


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

If you have any questions, please email editor Danielle Gaines at [email protected].

To republish, copy the following text and paste it into your HTML editor.


Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
Treasurer Davis staying prepared with fundraiser — but what office is in his future?