Whenever new presiding officers take over in the House of Delegates and state Senate, one of the big unknowns is whether they can match the fundraising firepower of their formidable predecessors.
House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) appears to have answered the question in the affirmative.
When annual fundraising reports are filed at the State Board of Elections next week, Jones will report raising about $875,000 from the time she became speaker on May 1 through early this year — $735,000 for her own campaign account and $140,000 for the House Democratic Caucus.
Cash on hand totals for the two campaign committees were not immediately available.
By way of comparison, in 2015, the equivalent point in the 2018 election cycle, the late speaker Michael E. Busch (D) raised about $550,000 for his campaign fund. Busch at that point had been speaker for 13 years.
Jones was never a prolific fundraiser. Before becoming speaker, she was speaker pro tem, and chaired the Capital Budget Committee and the Appropriations subcommittee on education. Neither of those panels are traditional fundraising magnets.
What’s more, Jones did not spend years preparing to attempt to succeed Busch, the way some of her colleagues did. So she never raised a lot of money — and never needed to for her our own re-election.
A year ago, Jones had less than $45,000 in her campaign account, after raising $29,000 from January 2018 to January 2019. The House Democratic Caucus Committee started 2019 with just over $15,000 on hand.
Since taking over, Jones has held almost 30 fundraising events around the state for herself or the caucus. Additionally, she appeared at about 50 of her colleagues’ fundraisers.
Campaign fundraising reports for state officeholders and candidates, covering activities from early January 2019 to early January 2020, are due at the State Board of Elections by next Wednesday.