District 38: a closer look at finances

Having looked at the races in District 37 yesterday, I know you’re waiting with bated breath for the really important one here in District 38 which will come at the end. (Always leave them wanting more.)

As opposed to the competition going on in its western neighbor, many District 38 denizens have their Delegates already all but selected. Barring a successful write-in campaign, both Delegate Carl Anderton, Jr. and Wayne Hartman will be representing their districts in January.

So let me review the parameters: I have pored over the campaign finance reports from each candidate submitted to the state Board of Elections beginning with the 2017 annual that covers from January of 2016. From there I subdivided contributions into five loose categories:

  • Donations from individuals within the area. For this exercise, the “area” is defined for both local districts as an address with a 216xx or 218xx zip code. Yes, the 216xx zip area is well outside the 38th District but it allows me apples-to-apples comparison with District 37 hopefuls – and there really aren’t a significant number of them, anyway.
  • Donations from individuals outside the 216xx and 218xx zip code area.
  • Donations from businesses within the area. Included in the definition of businesses are LLCs, LPs, and PAs.
  • Donations from businesses outside the area.
  • Donations from PACs. As a way of simplifying this, this also includes transfers from other campaign accounts, and (at my discretion) certain entities that were recognizable as similar to a political action committee, including larger businesses, unions, and governmental entities.

Having these all categorized and built into a spreadsheet, I can figure out several things: proportion of donations coming from each group, proportion of donations inside/outside the area, and an average donation. In many cases, I can compare and contrast candidates – but not always. Read on and you’ll find out why.

House District 38A:

Incumbent Republican (since 2010) Charles Otto vs. Democrat Kirkland Hall, Sr.

For Charles Otto:

  • 2 donations from individuals in area for $525
  • 1 donation from an individual outside of area for $250
  • 2 donations from businesses in area for $450
  • No donations from businesses outside of area
  • 6 donations from PACs and other committees for $4,600
  • Average donation: $529.55
  • Cash on hand (bank account balance) – $15,361.57

Because of one huge PAC donation of $2,500 skewing the results, just 16.7% of Otto’s money came from inside the area, with only 4.3% coming from outside the area and a whopping 79% from PACs and other committees. Out of the 21% coming from individuals and businesses, 13.3% was out of individual pockets and 7.7% was from local businesses.

Since 2010 Charles has had an outstanding loan to his campaign for $22,500. But as you can see, Otto doesn’t make a great effort to supplement his campaign with fundraising – it’s almost like an accident when someone sends him a check given that he’s only had 11 in over 2 1/2 years. Being his treasurer is almost as easy as being mine was.

Having said that, though, Otto is far more circumspect than his opponent.

This is what I found for Kirkland Hall. The first link is a screenshot taken of his most current campaign finance entity, taken yesterday on the Maryland SBE site. The second link is a different screenshot of another open – but considered inactive – campaign finance account for Kirkland Hall. This would appear to be a successful run for the Somerset County Democrat Central Committee. Unlike what I did for my three runs, apparently the account was never officially closed.

Hall has sent in ALCEs for 2 of the reporting periods, so we don’t have financial details of his campaign. But here’s the important issue – Hall is now overdue on his campaign finance reports for two consecutive reporting periods, the latest expiring in August. Enough days have elapsed since the first one was due to incur the maximum $500 fine, and he’s $180 and counting for this most recent period.

This is a screenshot of Kirkland Hall’s present campaign committee. Note the fines for lack of reporting at the bottom.

Note he was also a scofflaw on the 2018 Annual Report before fimally filing, with another $500 fine that was paid. And it’s not like he wasn’t warned about the May report. Yet the Hall campaign has been actively seeking financing during the time they were delinquent:

And as I can attest, his opponent doesn’t have “big money” flowing into his campaign – unless you count one $2,500 donation that came from the Maryland Farm Bureau PAC. But we don’t know how much Kirkland has because they’re not being forthcoming with their information. Could this be an intentional oversight as this is his campaign’s third offense?

On the other hand, the situation is much calmer in the other two District 38 subdistricts.

House District 38B:

Incumbent Republican Carl Anderton, Jr (since 2014) is unopposed.

For Carl Anderton:

  • 98 donations from individuals inside the area for $9,318
  • 12 donations from individuals outside the area for $2,350
  • 13 donations from businesses in area for $3,750
  • 4 donations from businesses outside the area for $1,500
  • 15 donations from PACs and other committees for $5,250
  • Average donation: $156.11
  • Cash on hand (bank account balance) – $21,048.02

58.9% of his money came from inside the area, with 17.4% coming from outside the area and 23.7% from PACs and other committees. Out of the 76.3% coming from individuals and businesses, 52.6% was out of individual pockets and 23.7% came from businesses.

However, once it became obvious that Carl would not have an opponent his fundraising has all but ceased – since the 2018 report came due in January he’s only picked up a total of $1,850.

House District 38C:

Incumbent Republican Mary Beth Carozza opted to run for Senate, leaving an open seat. Wayne Hartman won the June 26 primary and is only opposed in the General Election by write-in candidate Ed Tinus – one of those Hartman defeated in the primary.

For Wayne Hartman:

  • 83 donations from individuals inside the area for $31,255
  • 16 donations from individuals outside the area for $5,920
  • 45 donations from businesses in area for $29,208
  • 5 donations from businesses outside the area for $2,329
  • 1 donation from PACs and other committees for $1,000
  • Average donation: $464.75
  • Cash on hand (bank account balance) – $3,477.58

86.7% of Wayne’s money came from inside the area, with 11.8% coming from outside the region and 1.4% coming from a different committee. Out of the non-PAC money, 53.3% of his funding came from individuals and 45.2% from businesses. (Those numbers again fall short of rounding correctly.)

Much like Carl Anderton, Wayne all but ceased active fundraising after the primary. Unlike Carl, though, he still got some big checks – only 7 donations netted Hartman $5,550 – which has kept him in the black for his future plans.

Write-in Ed Tinus has mainly filed ALCEs since he began his campaign account in 2014; however, Ed stepped up his game to file a formal Pre-Primary 2 report that showed he contributed $40 to himself but spent $2,605 to leave himself a negative balance of $2,565.

So the undercard is complete – now comes what you’ve all been waiting for:

Senate District 38:

Republican Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (since 2014) is challenging Democrat Senator (since 2010, Delegate from 2006-2010) Jim Mathias.

For Mary Beth Carozza:

  • 518 donations from individuals inside the area for $112,287
  • 122 donations from individuals outside the area for $23,366.06
  • 79 donations from businesses in area for $44,589.38
  • 18 donations from businesses outside the area for $11,305
  • 45 donations from PACs and other committees for $30,288
  • Average donation: $251.51
  • Cash on hand (bank account balance) – $140,987.98

For Mary Beth, 70.7% of her money came from inside the area, with 15.6% coming from outside the area and 13.7% from PACs and other committees. Out of the 86.3% coming from individuals and businesses, 61.2% was out of individual pockets and 25.2% came from businesses. (It rounds off wrong again.)

This is a sea change from her initial campaign, which saw Mary Beth receive a great deal of money from outside the district from her erstwhile cohorts in Washington, D.C. In the 2014 campaign I wrote:

In her first report that covered the inception of her campaign to the initial days of 2014, over 70% of her funding came from out-of-state, mainly from the Washington, D.C. area and Ohio. Those Ohio connections, as well as work for Maine Sen. Susan Collins, proved valuable in the category of federal committees, as Mary Beth received money from the Buckeye Patriot PAC, Dirigo PAC, and Promoting Our Republican Team PAC, as well as the campaigns of Mike DeWine, Steve Stivers, and Pat Tiberi. DeWine is a former Senator from Ohio who is now the state’s Attorney General, while Stivers and Tiberi currently serve in Congress representing parts of the state.

It appears that Mary Beth has since established the local connections to compete in this race against perhaps the most well-funded incumbent in this portion of the state.

For Jim Mathias:

  • 469 donations from individuals inside the area for $91,115
  • 178 donations from individuals outside the area for $43,127
  • 157 donations from businesses in area for $82,339
  • 106 donations from businesses outside the area for $34,914
  • 301 donations from PACs and other committees for $124,610
  • Average donation: $310.57
  • Cash on hand (bank account balance) – $273,873.43

Jim collected 46.1% of his money from inside the area and 20.7% of his funding from outside this region. More importantly, Mathias collected 33.1% of his donation total from PACs and other committees, including a number of his General Assembly cohorts. (Rounding is off again.) Out of the non-PAC money, Mathias picked up 35.7% from individuals and 31.2% from businesses. It’s perhaps the most well-rounded report of any I’ve done in terms of equality of sources between individuals, businesses, and PACs.

With the exception of the brief Pre-Primary 2 period, though, Carozza has outraised Mathias among local individuals in each reporting period. On the other hand, among individual donors from outside the district Mathias has outgunned Mary Beth almost 2-to-1 with a significant amount from connections from the area surrounding his hometown of Baltimore.

From a business standpoint, Carozza has ate into Jim’s longstanding advantage and outraised him among local businesses in the last reporting period. She’s also negated his advantage among out-of-district businesses over the last three periods.

The biggest fundraising advantage Mathias enjoys, then, is the many thousands of dollars he has received from PACs over the last 2 1/2 years. It’s not that Carozza hasn’t received PAC money, but dozens of PACs in and out of the state have been handing over checks to Jim for several years, building up an intimidating war chest. (One interesting donation: ask the progressives if they appreciate Jim getting a check from the NRA. He did – $500 on January 3, 2018. Or ask the NRA if they really want to give money to someone with Jim’s overall voting record.) But Carozza, unlike Jim’s previous opponent Mike McDermott, has the money to compete in what may be the most-watched race in this part of the state.

Considering that Mathias has more in his bank account than the total of all the other candidates in both District 37 and 38 outside the 38th Senate race, and Carozza isn’t far behind (you would have to exclude Johnny Mautz and his $96k war chest to make it about even) and you can see where the focus will be.

Stepping into the ring

Yesterday I pointed out the voting records of the two men who wish to represent those of us who live in Senate District 38, but another thing I alluded to was the disparity in amending bills. Granted, it’s rare that Democrats have to make floor motions because much of their work can be done as a collective at the subcommittee and committee level; moreover, Senator Jim Mathias sits on the Finance Committee and that committee reviewed the smallest number of bills among the four main committees in the Senate (Budget and Taxation; Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs; Finance; and Judicial Proceedings.) All but the Senate President serve on at least one of those committees. Some members also sit on either the Executive Nominations or Rules committees, but Mathias isn’t among that group.

As I pointed out, often the only way a member (particularly a Republican one) has to amend a bill going through a committee he’s not part of is via the floor and McDermott has done so on many occasions.

But another thing Mike does well is communicate with constituents, and he also has a good way of getting to the root of the issue. Take this recent example, part of a piece he wrote called “Politically Correct Farming”:

Farmers have always been the first conservationists, even though they are often the last one to get called to a “Round Table Discussion” when policy is being crafted. Those “Round Tables” are reserved for election years. Ask any farmer about fixing the Bay and they will first point to the Conowingo Dam. The next point will be to the metro core area septic plants. They would also point out that the farming community is way ahead of the mandated time lines already placed upon them by the government.

The fact is, we do not need any further mandates on the shore. We need action in the areas that are creating the problem! The areas of the Bay which receive the best environmental scores are those adjacent to the Eastern Shore; and they rest next to the shore county (Somerset) that has the highest number of poultry operations in Maryland. Go figure!

Our water does not travel from lower shore rivers into the upper Bay regions, rather it moves toward the Atlantic. In spite of the obvious, farmers are an easy lot to blame; and politicians often do so with food in their mouths.

It should be obvious that poor water quality at the Bay Bridge isn’t being caused by a Somerset County poultry farmer, but from an Annapolis point of view untreated chicken waste flows as if magnetized toward the otherwise-pristine waters of the Annapolis harbor.

Or how about another case, this regarding gambling. McDermott called this the “Capitulating vs. Negotiating” piece, from which I excerpt:

For several years, Worcester County and Ocean Downs Casino have been paying off Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. All of that money could (and should) have been utilized for local spending. When I was elected in 2010, I was keenly aware of this wealth transfer and I looked for a mechanism to bring it back home where it belonged.

That opportunity presented itself in 2012 during our 2nd Special Session when the expansion of gaming was being sought. The issue was no longer about whether or not we would have gambling, rather it was about allowing a 6th casino to be built in Prince George’s County at National Harbor. Gambling was no longer the issue.

This bill originated in the Senate and once again, I noticed that the payoffs to Baltimore City and Prince George’s County were still embedded in the legislation. There was no attempt by Mathias to remove these provisions from the bill.

When the bill arrived in the House, the Democrats were hunting for insurance votes to pass the bill. I took advantage of the situation and spoke to the leader on the bill about the possibility of my supporting it. My demand was straightforward: return the local impact money to the citizens where the casinos are located. Depending on revenues, this could amount to $2 million each year that would remain on the lower shore.

To our benefit, they agreed to amend the bill and cut out the funding for Baltimore City and Prince George’s County as soon as Baltimore’s casino was open for business. In turn, I cast a deciding vote for the National Harbor expansion. The amendment was introduced by Delegate Dave Rudolph (D-Cecil) whose county also benefited directly from these local impact grants staying on the Upper Shore in Cecil County.

I could not help but see the irony of these two separate votes from two Delegates representing the same area:

  • Mathias casts the deciding vote that brings gambling to Maryland, establishes a casino in Ocean City’s backyard, and agrees to give Baltimore City and Prince Georges County $2 million of our money every year.
  • I cast the deciding vote that expands gambling to Prince George’s County alone and only after seeing the bill amended to strip Baltimore City and Prince George’s County from receiving one dime of our local impact money (returning $2 million to the Eastern Shore.)

Let me state for the record that both voted for this bill, a stance with which I disagreed because it punted this responsibility to the voters instead of in the General Assembly where it belongs. One could argue that McDermott sold his vote, or it can be termed horsetrading. But what horsetrading have we received from Mathias?

I also wanted to see what those on the other side of the political spectrum think. This is from a blog called Seventh State, which is a liberal site. In handicapping the 38th District races, David Lublin wrote back in March:

Backed by Rep. Andy Harris, one of my Eastern Shore sources describes McDermott as “to the right of Genghis Khan” on both social and fiscal issues. No one would confuse comparatively moderate Mathias with a Western Shore liberal but the difference between him and McDermott cannot be missed.

Actually, I would pretty much confuse Mathias with a Western Shore liberal given the preponderance of his votes. But honestly I don’t think the 38th District at large would truly mind “to the right of Genghis Khan” because it’s a conservative district. (It’s also an interesting comparison given what we know about the Mongol ruler.) Ours is also a district which chafes at the influence of Annapolis in its affairs, and considering Mathias has received a large portion of his six-figure campaign account from PACs and out-of-area donors, you have to wonder which of these two would be fighting out of our corner.

In a recent PAC-14 interview, McDermott said, “(W)e need leaders from the shore to go up there and represent our values.” Having heard Mike McDermott speak on a number of occasions, I think he would be a great addition to the Senate because he has shown over the last four years that he does the better job of that than his opponent.

Jim Mathias is a nice guy, but in this instance nice guys should finish last.

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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