Political Fundraisers Become Family Affairs (Or Stoke Political Family Feuds)

    A few election fundraisers on the docket in Maryland this fall have become family affairs – and in one case, a vehicle for a political family feud.

    Baltimore City Councilwoman Danielle “Dani” McCray (D), sister of state Sen. Cory V. McCray (D), has an evening fundraiser scheduled for Nov. 13, at B’more Lounge in East Baltimore. Ticket prices start at $25.

    But before that takes place, Chanel A. Branch, who is challenging Danielle McCray in next year’s Democratic primary, has a fundraiser scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Residence Inn by Marriott, near Johns Hopkins Hospital. Branch is the daughter of House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D).

    The relationship between the McCrays and the Branches is complicated. Both Danielle McCray and Chanel Branch competed for an appointment to the City Council this summer after the incumbent, Brandon M. Scott (D), was elevated to City Council president. McCray, who had worked for Scott for five years, prevailed.

    Last year, Cory McCray ousted longtime Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, an ally of Talmadge Branch, in the Democratic Senate primary.

    Talmadge Branch and Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore City), who represent the same legislative district as Cory McCray in Annapolis, are due to headline Chanel Branch’s fundraiser this month, where ticket prices start at $250.

    Cory McCray is the founder of East Baltimore’s BEST Democratic Club, which is mentoring a new generation of Baltimore politicians and activists. Talmadge Branch and McFadden have been stalwarts at the more established Eastside Democratic Organization.

    Chanel Branch is the mother of Tyrone Ray, who was murdered in a high-profile shooting in front of a Baltimore convenience store in September 2017.

    A more benign example of political family affairs is taking place in Harford County this month – a “Sunday Brunch With the Cassilly Brothers.” It’s a fundraiser for state Sen. Robert Cassilly (R-Harford) and his brother, Del. Andrew Cassilly (R-Harford). That’s taking place on Oct. 20 at the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air, where ticket prices start at $35.

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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.