This is the piece I promised you the other day. Originally I was going to lay this out one candidate at a time, but then decided it may be more to the point to compare and contrast all of the gubernatorial candidates in one place. It’s a lot of numbers, but I’ll try and make it interesting.
For each category, I’m going to do a rank order among the six gubernatorial contenders who have filed a campaign finance report covering 2013. There are a few other candidates who have filed or seem to be raising money – on the GOP side they are Brian Vaeth and Meyer Marks, while the Democrats have perennial candidates Ralph Jaffe and Charles Ulysses Smith. Except for Marks, all have turned in an Affidavit of Limited Contributions and Expenses, better known in our game as ALCEs. Marks has an active account but no report, which is a no-no.
To begin this comparison, it helps to know how much was raised during the 2013 period, which is about a week off the actual calendar since it ended January 8, 2014.
- Anthony Brown (D) – $4,019,803.13
- Doug Gansler (D) – $1,487,704.79
- Heather Mizeur (D) – $493,173.55
- David Craig (R) – $249,808.75
- Ron George (R) – $130,159.00
- Charles Lollar (R) – $65,329.67
Another piece of this puzzle which interests me is trying to figure out an average contribution. But rather than count the actual number of line items, I decided it was easier and far faster to assume there would be a certain number of contributions per page. This is the number of pages of contributors each report had.
- Anthony Brown (D) – 358
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 202
- Doug Gansler (D) – 125
- David Craig (R) – 58
- Ron George (R) – 46
- Charles Lollar (R) – 36
So, assuming 17 contributors per page, the average donation per contribution comes out like this.
- Doug Gansler (D) – $700.10
- Anthony Brown (D) – $660.50
- David Craig (R) – $253.36
- Ron George (R) – $166.44
- Heather Mizeur (D) – $143.91
- Charles Lollar (R) – $106.75
Something I found intriguing, particularly in Lollar’s case, was the fact that several contributors were serial repeaters. Some campaigns seem to have a feature where a donor can use an automatic monthly withdrawal, but in Lollar’s case it appears to be through PayPal and a large share of his backers tended to use that feature. That made for dozens of pages of expenditures on individual PayPal fees, which don’t seem to be a very efficient use of what turns out to be hundreds of campaign dollars a few pennies at a time, particularly on a $10 monthly donation.
Now let’s look at where the overall take came from. In all cases, the overwhelming majority of funds came from individual donations. But Charles Lollar took the cake there.
- Charles Lollar (R) – 100%
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 99.53%
- Ron George (R) – 98.12%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 97.5%
- David Craig (R) – 93.19%
- Anthony Brown (D) – 91.65%
I think there is a glaring mistake in Lollar’s totals, though, as I think the $6,000 transferred in from Blaine Young’s shuttered gubernatorial campaign probably should count as being from what the Board of Election calls “Maryland candidates or slates” and not as an individual contribution. Based on overall 2013 totals, that would actually put Lollar near the bottom of the list. But he’s not the only one who made mistakes, as I found PAC money interspersed with individual contributions on a number of reports, along with missing addresses and the like.
Without changing the Lollar numbers, here’s the percentage of contribution some of these six receieved from other candidates or slates.
- Anthony Brown (D) – 3.27%
- David Craig (R) – 0.64%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 0.52%
The others received none.
But how about state PACs? I would have thought they comprised a much larger share of the pie, but none of the candidates received more than a tiny percentage of PAC money.
- Anthony Brown (D) – 3.13%
- David Craig (R) – 2.8%
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 0.44%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 0.42%
Neither Ron George nor Charles Lollar were beneficiaries of PAC money. Obviously in terms of actual dollars there’s a huge difference between Brown and Craig, but percentage-wise they are fairly even.
Oddly enough, though, Ron George leads in the percentage coming from political clubs. I think it’s based on one contributuion.
- Ron George (R) – 1.88%
- Anthony Brown (D) – 0.21%
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 0.04%
Again, it’s a matter of scale – Brown’s largesse from political clubs is nearly fourfold more in actual dollars. The lieutenant governor is also the sole beneficiary of federal committee money, to the tune of $69,000.
Since individual contributions are such a large part of the game, though, I wanted to take a closer look at where they came from. To that end, I decided to categorize appropriate donations into one of five categories, if they fit – most did not, while some fit more than one.
- percentage from LLCs, LLPs, trusts, and other similar financial arrangements
- percentage from law firms, as I could reasonably ascertain same (inexact, to be sure)
- percentage from unions, although most give as PACs and I didn’t track those this time
- percentage from businesses
- percentage from out-of-state – in contrast to a federal race where out-of-state money is to be expected, it struck me that some campaigns leaned heavily on donors outside Maryland
I’ll start with the LLC category, which is being addressed for the next election cycle. Some believe it’s too easy to skirt contribution limits by maxing out a donation as an individual then shelling out more under the guise of an LLC. Each candidate got some LLC money, but some more than others.
- David Craig (R) – 25.16% of individual contribution money
- Anthony Brown (D) – 17.58%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 14.2%
- Ron George (R) – 4.69%
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 3.56%
- Charles Lollar (R) – 0.58%
Heather Mizeur is low on some of these categories because individual contributions from certain entities, like LLCs and businesses, could not be counted toward her matching funds for public campaign financing.
I sort of expected this result from law firms, although percentages were lower than I figured on.
- Doug Gansler (D) – 3.6%
- Anthony Brown (D) – 0.73%
- David Craig (R) – 0.6%
They were the only three receiving contributions from what I reckoned were law firms. Even if I was wrong on a few, Gansler took that category with ease.
The same was true of unions, where Democrats Anthony Brown (0.59%) and Doug Gansler (0.07%) were unsurprisingly the leaders.
And if you thought pay-to-play was the rule in Maryland, well, you may be correct. The individual share from businesses went like this.
- Anthony Brown (D) – 17.38%
- David Craig (R) – 15.33%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 12.6%
- Ron George (R) – 5.09%
- Charles Lollar (R) – 2.85%
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 0.17%
Maryland may have one of the worst business climates in the country, but the big, established players must like the way competition is curtailed in the state. Some of the largest businesses in the country gave big checks to Brown and Gansler, with health care businesses propping up Brown and some large technology firms backing Gansler.
Finally, I thought it was telling who got support from out-of-state. This may be controversial because I counted Washington, D.C. addresses as out of state and surely some business people who are Maryland residents wrote checks based on their place of business. But I had to draw a line somewhere and the results are telling to me. These figures represent the percentage of individual contribution money drawn from out of state.
- Heather Mizeur (D) – 36.63%
- Doug Gansler (D) – 32.67%
- Anthony Brown (D) – 25.55%
- Charles Lollar (R) – 7.09%
- Ron George (R) – 4.11%
- David Craig (R) – 3.87%
In the cases of Brown and Gansler, it seemed like much of their out-of-state take came from the District of Columbia, while Mizeur’s came from all over the country. Yet if you considered Takoma Park and Silver Spring as part of another state (sometimes we here on the Shore consider them another country) I believe Mizeur would have been over 50 percent. Does everyone in Takoma Park have an extra Benjamin to spend on her race? Seems like it.
This final category shows that Maryland Republicans can’t seem to nationalize this statewide race as they could recent federal races with Dan Bongino and Andy Harris, for example. This is a pity because what better encouraging message to conservatives than a Republican winning in Maryland?
To be a Republican in this state, though, it almost always means being outraised and outspent. But I find it interesting that Democrats have to pull so much money in from other states or corporate entities to produce these war chests. Sure, in Maryland we have our share of those who would dream of purchasing access via political contribution but it is encouraging that four of the six in the race still rely heavily on the grassroots. Sadly, though, they are the four who don’t have seven-figure bank balances.
So when you see the inevitable campaign commercials building up one candidate or tearing down another, consider where the money came from. The reports are somewhat dry reading, but you might find out the business you patronize donates to the wrong side.
Over the next few weeks I’ll look at some other races, including a couple local ones. Bet I find a few surprises.
Update: It’s probably been priced into the market anyway, but Brian Sears reports that Second District Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is, as most have come to expect, skipping the 2014 gubernatorial race to make another Congressional run. So the fields will probably not get any larger, although I wouldn’t be shocked to see a dropout on the GOP side.