District 38B House: Conway vs. Anderton

It’s hard to knock out someone who’s been in politics for over half of their life, but in District 38B Delegate Norm Conway, who at 72 years of age has held elective office since 1974, has a challenger in 41-year-old Delmar Mayor Carl Anderton, Jr. (Put another way, Anderton was but a mere toddler when Conway was first elected.) It’s also hard to knock out someone who has as much in the campaign bank as Norm does, but Carl is getting some help on that front as well.

[gview file=”http://monoblogue.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/House-38B.pdf”]

There’s no question that Conway has many of the same financial traits as fellow Democrat Jim Mathias: a plethora of businesses and PACs support his effort to remain in the House of Delegates. But it’s interesting to note that, after putting in a spate of local contributions dated January 7 of this year to be placed in the 2013 report (from a January 5 fundraiser in Willards, which ironically is now outside his district) and comply with the law prohibiting fundraising during session, Conway’s local contributions have all but dried up since that January accounting. Conway has raised less than $5,000 in individual contributions since the January report, with significant money coming from Rickman Firstfield Associates ($1,000) and PGA One Charles Center, L.P. ($2,000.) Rickman Firstfield is connected to William Rickman, who owns Ocean Downs and has been implicated in skirting Maryland’s ban on casino owners donating to political candidates. PGA One Charles Center works back to asbestos lawyer Peter Angelos, owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

It’s worth asking why they care about a local Delegate race, particularly since 96.4% of Conway’s individual contributions since his January report have come from outside the 218xx zip code area.

In that light, Anderton’s is for all intents and purposes a local effort: no PAC money and only a small percentage out of the district. Granted, the largest single donation comes from the vast coffers of Congressman Andy Harris, who gave $4,000, but that pales in comparison to PAC money finding its way to Conway. Others who have helped out Anderton are fellow Delegate hopeful Christopher Adams in District 37B, Wicomico County Council candidate Marc Kilmer, and Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker. Politicians have also transferred money to Conway: Wicomico County Council candidate Ernest Davis, Delegate Patrick Hogan (a Republican), and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz have chipped in.

But a consistent 25 to 35 percent of Conway’s take comes from Maryland PACs, with some of the largest contributors being the Baltimore Gas and Electric PAC ($1,000), Comcast PAC of Maryland ($1,000), Health Policy Leadership Alliance, the PAC of the Maryland Hospital Association ($1,000), Medical PAC Maryland ($1,000), SEIU Local 500 PAC ($1,000), Maryland Realtors PAC ($1,300), and the biggest by far: MSEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education PAC – the teacher’s union gave Norm a cool $5,150.

So it’s sort of telling in a way that Conway spent a tremendous amount of money on fundraising, spending over $17,000 to create just over $41,000 in individual contributions with events in Salisbury, Willards, and Annapolis. (For the Annapolis one he used our old “incumbency protection” friends at Rice Consulting, which received $4,361.93 for their trouble.) Meanwhile, the $15,880 on media was actually for billboard advertising with Clear Channel.

Conversely, Anderton seemed to have a lot more bang for his buck when it came to fundraising, spending $1,156.48 to generate $12,966.01 in individual contributions. EVO was his choice for venue, as he spent the entire sum there. All told, it’s worth pointing out that since the January report Anderton has outraised Conway $10,366.01 to $8,462.50 – granted, there were 90 days where Conway could not fundraise but practically all of the local money over the timeframe has gone to the challenger. (As full disclosure, I’ve chipped $10 into the Anderton effort although I didn’t attend a formal fundraiser.)

I was driving home yesterday along U.S. 50 when I noticed a Conway billboard – whether it’s the one he paid $15,880 for or one subsequent is not important. But on it Conway cited his “Eastern Shore Values” as a reason to be re-elected, so it’s funny that most of the money he’s used to pay for it comes from people who likely don’t share those values because they live in Annapolis or other parts of the state. Food for thought.

Next week I wrap up the series with a look at the District 37 House races. I’m just going to do one post and look at all five contenders.

District 38 Senate: Mathias vs. McDermott

A few weeks ago I promised to start once again looking into where our candidates get their money.

The first race I wanted to delve into on the financial end was the District 38 Senate race between incumbent Democrat Jim Mathias and challenger Republican Delegate Mike McDermott. As you’ll see, Mathias has the clear financial advantage.

[gview file=”http://monoblogue.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Senate-38.pdf”]

This file is something I composed as a composite which includes all four financial reports due since the beginning of 2014 – the 2013 annual, the two pre-primary reports, and now the first pre-general report.

So we can see that, in this race, incumbent Democrat Jim Mathias has raised a lot of money compared to his opponent, who is also an incumbent in the House of Delegates. Mike McDermott was more or less forced to run for a different office thanks to being squeezed into a single-member district with fellow Delegate Charles Otto by Democratic gerrymandering.

Where did the money come from? More than most others whose financial forms I’ve studied, Mathias gets a lot of donations from ticket sales, presumably to his relatively frequent fundraisers both in the Ocean City area and occasionally across the bridge. Almost 2/3 of his income came that way, with most of the rest being PAC contributions. Having looked as well at the records of his fellow Democrat incumbent Delegate Norm Conway, it’s apparent that PACs are very happy to give plenty of money to Democratic incumbents, but not so much to Republicans because Mike McDermott has negligible PAC money compared to Jim Mathias.

Moreover, there are a lot of big-money donors from Ocean City (and beyond) who have opened up their wallets for Jim Mathias, while only a handful are supporting McDermott. Given the huge disparity in money allotted to fundraising – for every dollar McDermott has spent on fundraising, Mathias has forked over $17.30 – it’s small wonder there’s a big gap in cash on hand.

It’s also worth mentioning that nearly half of Mathias’s total spending has gone to one entity – Rice Consulting of Bel Air, a frequent client of Maryland Democrats. Whether directly or as a pass-thru to other entities, Mathias gave $37,320.16 to Rice Consulting out of $78,388.97 spent.

McDermott has used a pair of outside consultants: Campaign On out of Owings Mills for $3,087 and Scott and Associates of Annapolis for $5,000. That represents about 40% of McDermott’s spending, but it’s going to media rather than fundraising and “strategic incumbency protection,” which are Rice Consulting’s specialties. Personally, I’d prefer strategic taxpayer and citizen protections.

It’s also worth pointing out that several current and former Annapolis and Baltimore Democratic elected officials have chipped in for Mathias from their campaign accounts:

  • retired Delegate Ann Marie Doory: $100
  • District 6 Delegate and State Senate candidate John Olszewski, Jr.: $150
  • District 11 Delegate Dan Morhaim: $250
  • retiring Baltimore County Councilman John Olszewski, Sr.: $450
  • retiring Delegate Brian McHale: $1,000
  • District 40 State Senator Catherine Pugh: $1,000
  • retiring Delegate James Hubbard: $2,000
  • retired Senator (and onetime Congressional candidate) Rob Garagiola: $2,250
  • District 13 Delegate and State Senate candidate Guy Guzzone: $6,000

The only elected official contributing to McDermott’s side thus far is Wicomico County Republican Central Committee-elect member Greg Belcher, who donated $154.18 in closing his election account.

So it’s very obvious that Maryland Democrats and their patrons are throwing the kitchen sink into keeping this seat. Mathias has a war chest which will likely land him some television time and allow him to once again carpetbomb the district with full-color mailings which obfuscate his real record.

But it’s also a fact that Mathias only won one of the three counties in the 38th District last time, winning in Worcester County by just enough to overcome his deficits in Somerset and Wicomico counties. He outspent Republican opponent Michael James $300,835.32 to $225,556.44 in the process, so indications are he will be able to spend the same amount (or more) this time.

Next up will be a look at the Senate race in District 37. My plan is to do each local district on a Tuesday or Wednesday, so look for the other Senate race after Labor Day.

Campaign 2014: a District 38 look at finance

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.

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