Brochin Shakes the Tin Cup to Retire Campaign Debt

    The election is over, but the fundraising fever has not abated.

    We’ve seen several invitations for political fundraisers taking place over the next several weeks — and of course, there will be dozens in the first week of January leading up to the start of the General Assembly session and its three-month ban on fundraising activity for state elected officials. One invitation that caught our eye was for outgoing state Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County), who is trying to retire a substantial campaign debt after his unsuccessful bid for county executive.

    The email invitation, with the subject line “Let’s help the man who has helped so many of us,” is for an evening event on Nov. 27 at the home of Yara Cheikh and Firmin DeBrabander. Cheikh is a Towson accountant, political activist and donor. DeBrabander is a philosophy professor at the Maryland Institute and College of Art.

    Among those on the “bipartisan host committee” is Del. Susan L. Aumann (R-Baltimore County), who represents the same district as Brochin and did not seek reelection after 16 years on the job. Aumann, according to campaign finance records, donated $1,000 to Brochin’s campaign this fall. So did state Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s).

    Brochin, the invitation says, has “considerable campaign debt of $95,000 from his race for Baltimore County Executive.” Campaign finance records show that he had $10,000 in his campaign account as of late October, and that the debt, originally $95,000, had been whittled down to $83,000. Brochin loaned his campaign $95,000 in the final days of the Democratic primary, which he wound up losing to now-County Executive-elect John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr. by just 17 votes.

    It’s not clear what Brochin plans to do next, but he did cross party lines to endorse Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), and that could help his job-hunting if he’s looking to stay in government.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading 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 later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.