Yesterday I looked at District 37, which encompasses the heart of the Eastern Shore, but now I work to the Shore’s southern end and District 38. The district takes in the eastern part of Wicomico County and all of Somerset and Worcester counties, touching both Delaware and Virginia. One change in recent redistricting was the formation of three separate sub-districts: House Districts 38A, 38B, and newly-created 38C. This was important because the two Republicans who currently represent the area in the House of Delegates were gerrymandered into a single district.
As a result, Republican Delegate Mike McDermott decided to enter the District 38 Senate race against Democratic incumbent Senator Jim Mathias. At this point, they are the only two who have filed for the race, and they provide an intriguing financial story.
Mathias, as the incumbent and popular former mayor of Ocean City, has a significant financial advantage over McDermott, who also boasts mayoral experience in the town of Pocomoke City. Although his bank account balance is listed as zero, Mathias boasts an astonishing $207,875.92 cash balance compared to the $20,562.22 McDermott reports as a bank account balance. Moreover, in 2013 Mathias raised $142,795 compared to McDermott’s $13,285.
So the question becomes: where did the money come from? In the case of Mathias, his breakdown is as follows:
- Ticket purchases: 66.78%
- Maryland PACs: 25.7%
- Total individual: 5.28%
- Maryland candidates/slates: 1.65%
- Non-federal out-of-state committees: 0.53%
- Other: 0.07%
There were just 24 individual contributions made to Mathias, while 315 ticket line items were entered, resulting in an average contribution of $421.22. That’s a chunk of change! I take ticket purchases to mean attendance at one of Jim’s frequent fundraisers, for which he uses a Bel Air-based company called Rice Consulting, LLC. They even feature “incumbency protection” services. Out of $39,595.91 Mathias spent in 2013, Rice received $24,423.96 for its various enterprises from Mathias.
On the other hand, all of McDermott’s take fell into the “total individual” category, and his average donation among the 82 individual items recorded was a more modest $162.01.
Sourcing out the origins of Jim Mathias’s 2013 inflow, I came up with the following:
- LLCs and similar legal partnerships: 26.73%
- Law firms: 1.2%
- Unions: 2.24% (this doesn’t include their PAC money)
- Business: 29.57%
- Out-of-district (outside the 218xx zip code area): 34%
While I have studied others who exceed this out-of-district amount, Mathias has the largest share for an incumbent.
In contrast, Mike McDemott received 7.53% from LLCs, none from law firms or unions, 9.97% from business, and just 5.08% from outside the district. He also has outstanding obligations (to himself) of $20,662.87 and used a consultant called Campaign On out of Owings Mills to the tune of $1,390.
Checking on the House of Delegate districts, we find that Republican District 38A incumbent Charles Otto was the only one to file a campaign finance report. His Democratic challenger, P.J. Purnell, didn’t file until late January.
So Purnell should know that Otto has just $9,120.77 in the bank and raised only $2,600 in 2013. Of that amount – which came from 11 donors, averaging $236.36 apiece – 19.23% came from LLCs, none from law firms or unions, 36.54% from business, and just 9.62% from out of district. That was one $250 contribution. Otto also has $17,500 in candidate loans still outstanding from his 2010 run, which may have shown him to be vulnerable.
Both Otto and Purnell will have to introduce themselves to some new voters, as the revised Somerset-based District 38A lost its Wicomico County territory and gained what’s essentially the southern half of Worcester County. Some of that former 38A Wicomico County area shifted to District 37B but a portion was added to a reconfigured District 38B, from which the new District 38C was carved. Instead of being a two-Delegate district which took in the eastern half of Wicomico County and all of Worcester, the new single-representative District 38B curves around from the town of Delmar to Fruitland, taking in a swath of the east side of Salisbury. It’s less territory for incumbent Democratic Delegate Norm Conway to compete in, but he has drawn a GOP challenger in Delmar mayor Carl Anderton, Jr.
Once again, the Democrat holds a significant edge in cash on hand, although Anderton raised some money in the last two months of the year after filing in mid-October. Conway boasts a current war chest of $89,566.22 and gained $55,111.70 in 2013 against Anderton’s $2,450 on $2,600 raised.
But like Mathias, Conway’s fundraising profile carries a lot of interesting quirks. He doesn’t have the ticket purchases like Jim does, but only 66.99% of Conway’s income came from individual donations. 31.18% came from Maryland PACs, 1.72% came from political clubs, and 0.11% came from candidate slates. Both District 38 incumbent Democrats boast a significant amount of PAC money.
Conway’s proportions of funding differ a little from his Senate counterpart, though:
- LLCs and similar legal partnerships: 3.03%
- Law firms: 1.71%
- Unions: 5.15% (again, this doesn’t include their PAC money)
- Business: 17.26%
- Out-of-district (outside the 218xx zip code area): 20.44%
Out of 301 individual transactions, Conway averaged $122.65 per, just a shade less than the average Anderton contribution of $136.84 among 19 transactions. But Anderton received all of his funding via that route, with just 3.85% from LLCs, none from law firms or unions, 9.62% from businesses, and only 5.77% from out of district.
And Conway “only” spent $4,361.93 at Rice Consulting.
Because it’s a new district, the 38C race has no incumbent – but it has a clear money leader among the three who have filed.
Having a carry-forward of $50,565.65, Republican hopeful Mary Beth Carozza leads in a significant way over Democrats Judy Davis, whose bank account has $1,452.59 in it, and Mike Hindi, who filed an affadavit stating he’d neither raised nor spent over $1,000 on the campaign.
Carozza’s lead is built upon some of the same formula which propelled District 37B fundraising leader Johnny Mautz, Jr. as she used connections built up from time spent in Washington to provide plenty of money. Mary Beth raised a total of $72,897 over the year, which dwarfs the $3,548 income Davis reported, in Judy’s case all from individual contributions.
The split on Carozza was interesting for a Republican, with 47.3% from individual contributions, 30.62% from ticket purchases. 13.72% from loans (Carozza loaned herself $10,000), 7.89% from federal committees, and 0.48% from candidate slates. Many of the federal committees were Ohio-based, reflecting Carozza’s previous work for the Ohio congressional delegation. Adding her 180 individual contributions with the 92 ticket sales makes for an average contribution of $208.81, compared to the 83 individual transactions averaging just $42.75 for Davis.
Carozza doesn’t have a lot of contributions from various interest groups, as she has 1.94% from LLCs, none from law firms or unions, and 3.66% from businesses. But she’s received a stunning 70.57% of her individual take from outside the district, which dwarfs Davis and her 23.82% out-of-district income. (In most areas, Davis would be the outlier.)
With just a couple weeks before the filing deadline, these races are probably pretty much set, so it will be interesting to see where the money comes from at the next reporting date in April or May, depending on the committee. By then we’ll know the players and can see what sort of advantages the challengers have gained while incumbents labor under a restriction on fundraising during the session.