State of Being

    Much is being made of the possibility, first reported in The New York Times last week, that California Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D) could open a campaign headquarters in Baltimore for her putative 2020 presidential bid.

    And why not? That would be cool for the city and the state. The Times reported that Harris is also eyeing Atlanta as a possible headquarters city, and would also have a prominent campaign presence in Oakland (California, not Maryland), her hometown.

    But remember – there’s already a presidential campaign headquarters in Maryland. That belongs to Maryland’s own former U.S. Rep. John K. Delaney (D), who has been running for president for almost a year and a half, and whose six-year congressional career came to an end last week. Delaney has been rightly focusing on Iowa and New Hampshire, but his campaign is, technically, based here, in Bethesda.

    So come on in, Sen. Harris – the water’s fine.

    Speaking of Delaney, The Intercept ran an interesting piece recently about the state of the Democratic White House race, focusing, among other things, on the number of small donations – those of $250 or less – fueling each candidate’s campaign so far. It only looked at potential 2020 contenders who currently have federal campaign accounts open.

    It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, to be sure. Delaney has had a presidential campaign committee open since mid-2017. Another dozen are members of Congress with campaign committees for just-completed or future reelection efforts. Others, like former vice president Joe Biden and billionaire political activist Tom Steyer, have political action committees under control. So they’ve been raising money for different causes and in different ways.

    Still, the bottom line is that among all these potential White House contenders, Delaney – who has largely been self-funding his campaign – has the lowest percentage of small donations of all the money the candidates have collected.

    According to The Intercept’s analysis, small donations represent just 0.71 percent of the almost $5 million Delaney has raised for his presidential campaign. Of all the potential candidates with federal campaign accounts, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who just won a third Senate term, had the largest percentage of small donations – 74.71 percent. Harris, who has been raising money for a 2022 reelection, was next, with 74.43 percent. The list goes on from there.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran 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 was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.