If you were wondering how the various gubernatorial campaigns fared in 2013, today several filed their campaign finance reports. As I write this, I have not been able to access the reports for either Anthony Brown or Doug Gansler on the Democratic side; however, the close of business for today was extended to one minute before midnight so they may be waiting until the last minute. Of course, there’s no shortage of special interest money out there to prop up their campaigns, and even the longshot Democratic gubernatorial bid of Heather Mizeur is sitting on over $215,000 after raising nearly a half-million in the last four months of 2013.
But I’m interested in the GOP side, and although their numbers were classified as “weak” by the Baltimore Sun, they should be noted in context with each other. Having a June primary means more opportunity to gain ground, as opposed to the former September primary which was just eight weeks before the general election.
I’ll begin with the all-important cash on hand number. As of the reporting deadline, here’s how the contenders stacked up:
- David Craig – $154,577.02
- Ron George – $15,449.89
- Charles Lollar – $5,731.35
There is no doubt that, if the GOP had to run a campaign based on those numbers, it would be exhausted inside a week – or maybe even a day. More importantly, Larry Hogan now can determine that lending himself over $300,000 – as he did in his abortive 2010 run – would be more than sufficient seed money to jumpstart a campaign and put him at a financial advantage.
Yet there’s also the question of fundraising prowess. How much did each of these men raise in 2013?
- David Craig – $249,808.75
- Ron George – $130,159.00
- Charles Lollar – $65,329.67
In essence, Craig raised twice as much as George, who raised twice as much as Lollar. Granted, Charles officially announced three months later than the other two but raised funds throughout the year during his “draft” stage.
Over the coming days I’ll begin to dig deeper into these reports, but several initial conclusions can be drawn.
In strict financial terms, this is a two-horse race at the moment: Larry Hogan vs. David Craig. If either Ron George or Charles Lollar goes the public financing route, it may assist them in the primary but it will likely be meaningless in a general election. Ron George may be able to draw the seed money required for public financing, but I’m not sure Charles Lollar would either participate in the idea or raise enough to qualify. For Lollar’s part, I understand money is fungible, but if not for the $6,000 the shuttered Blaine Young campaign gave him there would be nothing on hand.
Ron George has the added disadvantage of lagging in fundraising at a time when he can’t legally raise funds (unless he chooses the public financing route.) But his other problem is that he’s a businessman hailing from Anne Arundel County who doesn’t have the personal wherewithal to match another businessman from Anne Arundel County. While the backgrounds of Hogan and George are not exactly alike, they’re not as completely dissimilar as the profiles of the others in the race.
Yet there is another complication as well, which probably affects Lollar the most. By February 25 George, Hogan, and Lollar all need to select running mates in order to file. The question is: who would agree to take a chance on a race which seems unwinnable on a primary level, meanwhile forfeiting their opportunity for election – or re-election? Obviously the plum spot for a Republican is already taken by Jeannie Haddaway. who wouldn’t be hurt by missing an election cycle because she’s relatively young and has served capably in the House of Delegates. If Jeannie’s LG bid is unsuccessful, she still would be the natural successor in 2018 to her State Senator, Richard Colburn, who’s already filed for another term but is approaching retirement age. Because of this, I would look for the others to choose a running mate who is either a local elected official or perhaps comes from a non-political background.
Now we know the financial situation of most involved, and based on prior history I can take an educated guess on where the other contender would stand. More than ever, the Maryland GOP needs to elect a candidate we can all unite behind because it’s almost certain the other side will have plenty of special interest money to spend.
Update: Thought I added this but I guess not. For context, here are the Democrats’ COH numbers:
- Anthony Brown: $4,079,502.76
- Doug Gansler: $6,106,763.78
- Heather Mizeur: $215,629.92