His introductory piece:
His piece on school overcrowding:
By Adam Pagnucco.
Today we look at fundraising by the Council District candidates. As with our prior posts on the County Executive and Council At-Large races, we start with a note on methodology. First, we calculate total raised and total spent across the entire cycle and not just over the course of one report period. Second, we separate self-funding from funds raised from others. Self-funding includes money from spouses. Third, for publicly financed candidates, we include public matching fund distributions that have been requested but not deposited in raised money and in the column entitled “Cash Balance With Requested Public Contributions.” That gives you a better idea of the true financial position of publicly financed campaigns.
Let’s start with the Council District 1 candidates.
Former Comptroller staffer Andrew Friedson is easily the fundraising leader. His total raised for the cycle ($333,081) exceeds any of the Council At-Large candidates and his cash on hand ($245,290) almost equals the cash on hand of the next three candidates combined ($251,205). Friedson has raised $159,257 from individuals in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo, Cabin John, Kensington, Potomac and Poolesville, which represents 48% of his take. That amount is not very different from the TOTAL fundraising from others reported by former Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman ($174,996) and former Planning Board Member Meredith Wellington ($138,820). Of Friedson’s 1,074 contributions, 702 were for $150 or less.
The endorsement leader in District 1 is Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, who has the support of MCEA, Casa in Action, SEIU Locals 500 and 32BJ, Progressive Maryland and MCGEO. But Gutierrez’s main base of voters is Wheaton, which is not in the district, and she does not have a lot of money for mail. Friedson got a big boost when the Post endorsed him.
Reggie Oldak faces a cash crunch at the end because of her decision to participate in public financing. Unlike Friedson, Fosselman or Wellington, she can’t get big corporate or self-financed checks to catch up late and she has already received the maximum public matching funds available ($125,000). District 1 has by far more Democratic voters than any other district and past candidates, like incumbent Roger Berliner and former incumbent Howie Denis, raised comparable amounts to the at-large candidates. The next County Council should consider whether to adjust the matching funds cap to avoid handicapping future District 1 candidates who enroll in public financing.
Now let’s look at the Council District 3 candidates.
Incumbent Sidney Katz and challenger Ben Shnider have raised comparable amounts for the cycle. But Shnider’s burn rate has been much higher (partly driven by early mail) and Katz has more than twice his cash on hand.
Katz’s strength is not simply his incumbency but the fact that he has been a county or municipal elected official in the district longer than Shnider has been alive. That shows up in their fundraising. Katz is in public financing and recently announced that he will receive the maximum public matching funds contribution of $125,000. Of Shnider’s $199,454 total raised, just $14,639 (7%) came from individuals in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Washington Grove, Derwood and zip codes 20878 and 20906. That is a huge gap in starting indigenous support that Shnider has to close.
Here are the summaries for Council Districts 2, 4 and 5.
Council District 5 challenger Kevin Harris qualified for public matching funds so he can send mail against incumbent Tom Hucker. But we expect Hucker and his fellow council incumbents, Craig Rice and Nancy Navarro, to be reelected.
By Adam Pagnucco.
Council District 1 candidate Andrew Friedson has sent out a mailer discussing the need to “Ease the Squeeze” in Montgomery County. Friedson writes:
We’ve all felt the Montgomery County Squeeze. It’s the squeeze on families facing higher living and childcare costs despite stagnant wages, on commuters stuck in the second worst traffic congestion in the country, and on parents whose kids are squeezed in overcrowded schools. It’s the squeeze on young workers and new families who can no longer afford to live here, and on seniors struggling to maintain a quality home and a dignified livelihood without the support they need to get by.
Montgomery County is a special place, but we can’t afford to ignore the change that’s happening all around us because it’s putting the squeeze on all of us.
I’m running for County Council to Ease the Montgomery County Squeeze with forward-focused leadership dedicated to growing a modern economy so we can make our community more attractive to move here and more affordable to stay here.
This is Friedson’s core campaign message. Will it work?
By Adam Pagnucco.
That’s the title of the mailer sent out by Council District 1 candidate Meredith Wellington this week, which we reprint below. The remainder of Wellington’s message is clearly directed at opponents of development, an ancient political tradition in MoCo. But here is the thing: whether it’s fair or not – and we could make a case either way – pretty much everyone we talk to, regardless of their ideology, doesn’t believe the county adequately listens to them. That message, distilled of ideological connotation, will travel far and wide.
By Adam Pagnucco.
SEIU Local 500, which represents MCPS support staff, adjunct college professors, child care employees and other members, has endorsed Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez for the open Council District 1 seat. Gutierrez has also been endorsed by Progressive Maryland, Casa in Action and MCEA. Last week, she requested $10,290 in matching funds from the state under public financing, which – if she gets them – will give her over $30,000 in the bank.
We reprint Local 500’s press release below.
For Immediate Release
March 15, 2018
Contact: Christopher Honey
SEIU Local 500 endorses Ana Sol Gutierrez for Montgomery County Council District 1
(Gaithersburg, MD) SEIU Local 500, the largest union local in Montgomery County, announced it was putting its full support behind Ana Sol Gutierrez for the Montgomery County Council District 1. The District 1 seat is open because incumbent Count Councilmember Roger Berliner is running for County Executive.
“Ana has a strong background in education and understands the unique challenges and opportunities families face in Montgomery County. She has always been an advocate for those left behind in Montgomery County. She has been a leader on issues like affordable housing and working to close the achievement in our schools,” said Merle Cuttitta, President of SEIU Local 500.
President Cuttitta added, “She’s also a member of SEIU Local 500 – she was a union adjunct at George Washington University!”
SEIU Local 500 represents over 20,000 workers across the region, including supporting services professionals in Montgomery County Public Schools, adjunct faculty at Montgomery College and Maryland family childcare providers.
By Adam Pagnucco.
In addition to the wild and woolly Executive and Council At-Large races, MoCo has two competitive District County Council elections. Let’s have a look.
Council District 1
In District 1, which stretches from Kensington in the east to Poolesville in the west, nine candidates are vying to succeed incumbent Roger Berliner, who is term limited and is running for Executive. But of these nine, only four look competitive at the moment and one stands out: former aide to the Comptroller Andrew Friedson.
Friedson’s lead in total raised and cash balance is as obvious as it is staggering. But consider these three facts. First, if Friedson were running in the Council At-Large race, his total raised for the cycle ($218,903) would be second only to Hans Riemer ($219,103), who is the only at-large incumbent running. Friedson’s cash on hand ($200,622) would be second only to Delegate Charles Barkley ($232,428). Second, Friedson’s lead is not in money alone. We added up the number of individual contributors each of the top four fundraising candidates had in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Kensington, Cabin John, Glen Echo, Poolesville and zip codes 20852 (Rockville) and 20878 (Gaithersburg/North Potomac) to approximate in-district contributors. Friedson had 289 contributors in these locations, followed by Reggie Oldak (217), former Town of Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman (195) and Meredith Wellington (92). Third, Friedson has accomplished this in just five months. Fosselman has been running for ten months, followed by Oldak (nine months) and Wellington (eight months). We wonder how much Friedson would have raised if he had been campaigning longer.
The good news for Reggie Oldak is that she has done well in public financing and should have no problem hitting the $125,000 cap for public matching funds. The bad news is that it’s probably impossible for her to catch Friedson because once she hits the cap, she will be limited to $150 individual checks. Wellington has relied on self-financing more than the other candidates and has a high burn rate (41%). Fosselman should have been the fundraising leader in this race. He was Mayor of the Town of Kensington for a decade and is plugged into Ike Leggett’s network, the county developer network (he once worked for Rodgers Consulting) and what is left of the network of former Governor Martin O’Malley, who endorsed him and had his PAC max out to him. But Fosselman is fourth in cash on hand and faces the risk that the business community will turn to Friedson as a better prospect to win.
Council District 3
In District 3, which is mostly comprised of Rockville, Gaithersburg, Aspen Hill, Leisure World, part of Norbeck and Washington Grove, former J Street Political Director Ben Shnider is taking on incumbent Council Member and former Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz. Shnider, who is in the traditional financing system, outraised the incumbent, who is taking public financing.
Shnider’s fundraising edge, along with his endorsement by SEIU Local 32BJ, gives his campaign credibility against Katz, who has been in county and municipal politics for decades. A further look at the fundraising numbers reveals two things. First, 76% of Shnider’s fundraising has come from out of state. (Katz’s percentage is just 2%). But second, and more worrisome for Katz, Shnider is starting to catch on in the district. When we added up the number of individual contributors from Rockville, Gaithersburg, Washington Grove and zip code 20906 (Leisure World/Norbeck) to approximate in-district contributors, Katz had 99 and Shnider had 75. Shnider is the underdog in this race, but Katz needs to start working harder to hold him off.
The other districts lack competition. District 2 incumbent Craig Rice has not been raising money and is apparently unworried about his Republican rivals in the age of Trump. District 4 Council Member Nancy Navarro and District 5 Council Member Tom Hucker have no opponents and are headed to reelection.
We will get to state legislative races soon, folks!
Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan has endorsed Council District 1 candidate Andrew Friedson. Following is Friedson’s press release.
Friedson Endorsed by County Executive Doug Duncan
Three-Term Exec. Calls Friedson “Forward-Focused Leader with a Proven Track Record”
Bethesda, Md. – Former Three-Term County Executive Douglas M. Duncan announced his endorsement of Andrew Friedson in the highly competitive Montgomery County Council, District One race.
“Andrew Friedson is a change-maker and a problem solver, a homegrown leader who knows how to bring together the public and private sectors to actually get things done,” Duncan said. “When our community’s growing needs continue to exceed our revenues, and as Montgomery County families are being squeezed with rising living and childcare costs and stagnant wages, we need someone with Andrew’s experience effectively holding government agencies accountable, scrutinizing public spending, and helping grow small business jobs. In rapidly changing times, we need new leaders, with new perspectives, and new ideas on the County Council. Andrew Friedson is that forward-focused leader with a proven track record, and I am thrilled to endorse him for Montgomery County Council in District One.”
Following the endorsement, Mr. Duncan and his wife Barbara are hosting a birthday fundraiser on January 9th in Bethesda to support Friedson’s campaign, along with Comptroller Peter Franchot, Senators Brian Feldman and Craig Zucker, former Congressman C. Thomas McMillen, and former Maryland Democratic Party Chair, Susan Turnbull, in addition to a large host committee of well-known community leaders. Along with the endorsement of the former County Executive, Friedson’s campaign has been noted for its fast start and impressive following on social media since he formally filed for the seat on October 5.
A lifelong Montgomery County resident and University of Maryland graduate, Friedson attended Wayside, Hoover and Churchill public schools. He spent the past six years as Senior Policy Advisor, Deputy Chief of Staff and Division Director for the Comptroller of Maryland where he focused on making government more effective, efficient and responsive, and previously oversaw a complete restructuring of Maryland’s $6 billion 529 college savings program. Friedson currently serves as Chair of the Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, recently served on Maryland’s Small Business Development Financing Authority, and was a driving force behind a new state program which launched this fall to provide financial security and independence for Marylanders with disabilities.
Duncan currently serves as President and CEO of Leadership Greater Washington. In addition to his decorated 12-year tenure as Montgomery County’s top elected official, he also co-founded a continuous advisory services firm for state and local governments, was Vice President for Administrative Affairs at the University of Maryland College Park, was a National Account Manager for AT&T, and served as Mayor of Rockville.
For details on Andrew Friedson’s January 9th Birthday Bash, please visit http://ow.ly/k17t30h6GLW. For more information on the Friedson campaign, please visit andrewfriedson.com or http://www.facebook.com/andrewfriedson.
By Adam Pagnucco.
Political handicapping is a very subjective exercise. That said, there are a handful of objective measures that give clues to the state of a race: fundraising, endorsements, surrogates, communications (like number of mailers sent and TV time purchased), and more. The jury is still out on the importance of social media followers. But if Facebook followings matter at all, Andrew Friedson is waaaaaay ahead on that measure in the Council District 1 election.
As of Monday, September 11, here are the Facebook followers on each of the District 1 candidates’ campaign pages.
Andrew Friedson: 4,822
Pete Fosselman: 461
Bill Cook: 224
Reggie Oldak: 154
Other candidates: no pages
That’s right, Friedson has almost six times as many followers as his competitors COMBINED. And they have all been running for months before he got in.
One reason why Facebook followers are discounted by many is that they don’t reflect actual voters in the relevant jurisdiction. They can come from all over Planet Earth. So your author asked Friedson to provide a geographic distribution of his Facebook followers. According to data from his page, roughly two-thirds of Friedson’s followers reported cities of residence. Of those, 1,490 lived in Maryland, 971 lived in MoCo and 462 lived in the District 1 areas of Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac and Kensington. An additional 700 reported living in D.C., but some of those people could actually live in the Maryland suburbs.
This is an impressive campaign page following for someone who just declared for the race a month ago. It reflects Friedson’s ability to tap into a number of networks, including his friends and family as a MoCo native; his college network from the University of Maryland (where he was a class President); his professional network from his time as an aide to Comptroller Peter Franchot and Congressional candidate David Trone; and his non-profit networks stemming from his service as a Board Member on the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the MoCo Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families. These are real assets for any candidate for office. And Friedson can leverage them through social media to raise money, spread his message and build name recognition in a way the other candidates can’t (yet) match.
Reggie Oldak has shown early success in the public campaign finance system but Andrew Friedson is off to a fast start. Let the rest of the field beware!
By Adam Pagnucco.
Significant speculation surrounds the number of candidates who could be running for county office in MoCo next year. Some believe that fifty or more people are interested in running but the ultimate number will probably be much less. Below are the candidates who are actually running for County Executive or County Council at this moment. All of them have either established a campaign committee, have filed to run, have publicly announced their intent to run or are incumbents who are eligible for reelection. If there are mistakes or omissions on this list, please let us know. We will be posting regular updates.
First off, I am informed by Alan Hyman that Duchy Trachtenberg was endorsed by DFA on May 8th. No idea if Alan is associated with Duchy’s campaign but it really doesn’t matter because he’s correct. DFA has also changed its website today and Duchy is now listed as an endorsed candidate in Maryland. Of course, this still leaves unanswered where DFA got its inaccurate information on Ten Mile Creek or why they are investing in the race.
I received an email from local activist Molly Hauck who was strongly offended by DFA’s email blast. Below is her email to other people in Kensington as well as her letter to DFA.
This email is offensive and you can see my response below. If anyone else is a member of DFA or knows members of DFA, please contact them with your response. . . .
Roger said that Duchy worked for Howard Dean and her campaign manager, Joe Trippi, worked for Howard Dean, so they are paying her back. What a way to do it! They should have someone do some fact checking before sending out something like this.
Dear Franco Caliz,
I live in Kensington, part of Montgomery County, and I follow what is going on in the Montgomery County Council. This is an unfair and dangerous attack on Roger Berliner. Whoever wrote this hasn’t followed what is going on in the Montg. Co. Council and doesn’t understand the facts. Roger Berliner was one of the three people on the Montgomery County Council who worked hard to protect Ten Mile Creek. He is an environmental lawyer who loves to do trout fishing. He successfully fought the development project that was proposed near Ten Mile Creek. Water has to be clean for trout to live in it. So he worked with two other Council members, Marc Elrich and Phil Andrews, to protect Ten Mile Creek. Environmentalists were happy with the results and just celebrated last week at the Audubon Society. He has also introduced and passed a lot of environmental legislation in the Montg. Co. Council. Your email describes him as a developer. This is totally inaccurate.Duchy had nothing to do with fighting the developers who wanted to ruin Ten Mile Creek. She isn’t on the Montg. Co. Council, so how could she “push back?”
After reading this, I am afraid of Duchy’s judgment and that of the people running her campaign. I don’t understand why Democracy for America would perpetrate such lies. This will definitely impel me to work to reelect Roger Berliner. It also makes me wonder if I want to contribute to Democracy for America in the future.
Democracy for America should apologize to Roger Berliner and send an email retracting this to all the people who just received it.
I am told by someone in the know that Hans Riemer was also active in the effort to preserve Ten Mile Creek.