Quick thoughts on the fundraising numbers.
Normally, the release of the campaign finance data results
in a couple of candidates pondering how to exit the room most gracefully. This time around, it is challenging to see who
is in clear mortal peril. Let’s start at
the top and focus on surprises:
Governor’s Race: Baker and Kamenetz both clear $1.0M raised
in the reporting period (2017), but the latter leads the former in the critically
important Cash on Hand category by a sizable margin ($2.0M to $696K. Note – all figures are from my hand-scrawled
notes. Second note – loans are important to acknowledge as distinguishing
between financial backing expressed through contributions vs. self-financing is
one, albeit just one, indicator of “public” support. However, money spends like money so I am not
breaking out loan data here.
So Shea has $1.3M Cash on Hand. Big deal. Show me his constituency. He – like Ross – will probably have to rely
on a “well, if we finish in second place everywhere, we have a shot at this” strategy. Between the two, I think Ross is better
situated to execute such a maneuver, and even then, he is unlikely to pull it
off. Unless Shea starts distinguishing
himself on Issues (yes, I will get to Madaleno soon), I don’t know where his
campaign goes. Just another well-funded
vanity exercise? Possibly. An audition
for the LG slot? Perhaps.
Jealous pulled in $1.25M in 2017, more than Baker and Kamenetz,
it should be noted. But he started from $0
and he had a relatively high burn rate, so he is showing just shy of
$400K. His union and progressive support
and ability to garner paid media attention still make him a serious force. He needs to consolidate the left though
(fine, Rich, give me one second).
Sen. Madaleno strikes me as similar to a thoughtful, left-of-center
Michigan politico named Lynn Jondahl. Jondahl was a respected figure in Michigan
politics for decades, a long-time member of the state House of Representatives
(a Delegate in Maryland verbiage). He ran
for Governor in 1994 and he finished 4th in the Democratic primary
with around 10% of the vote. Madaleno
has only $193K CoH, but I anticipate he will continue to make some noise in Annapolis through policy proposals (like the $15 minimum wage bill he is introducing with
Delegate Hettleman). Probably just
visible enough to appeal to good-government, media and policy-attentive progressives. Can he build a constituency large enough to
capture a plurality in Montgomery County? Maybe. Could he finish in the top 3 in neighboring
Howard County? Conceivably. This author –
who has not yet selected a favorite – believes that Madaleno would be a very
good Governor, but I am not seeing an easy path to the Democratic nomination
for the Senator.
Krish Vignarajah, whose website can be found
had a better than expected showing. I
fell asleep before her numbers were posted. I woke up expecting her to have a
CoH figure around Madaleno’s and definitely south of
Jealous. $405 CoH, with a very frugal
burn rate (only $25K in expenditures compared to $431K raised) is not bad at all. With these numbers, her campaign clears the threshold
of “serious.” In a low turnout primary, a woman who is a policy wonk with sufficient money in
the bank can be well-positioned to make a move…particularly going into the televised debate
season and especially if folks like Baker and Kamenetz start going after each
other. Can Vignarajah pull off a Feingold
’92? I don’t see why she couldn’t.
I will focus on other state and local races shortly. Back to work.