By Adam Pagnucco.
Now to the swarming Council At-Large race, a fascinating contest with a cast of candidates exceeding the population of several small island nations. In accordance with our prior post on the Executive candidates, let’s review our methodology. First, we calculate total raised and total spent across the entire cycle and not just over the course of one report period. Many candidates, particularly in other races we will discuss, have been campaigning for more than a year and we want to capture that. Second, we separate self-funding from funds raised from others. Self-funding includes money from spouses. Total raised does not include in-kind contributions. Third, for self-financed candidates, we include public matching fund distributions that have been requested but not deposited in raised money and in cash on hand (which we call adjusted cash balance). That gives you a better idea of the true financial position of publicly financed campaigns.
And now, on to the financial presentation. (We hope this graphic can fit on your screen.) Two candidates – Brandy Brooks and Darwin Romero – have not filed reports at this writing.
Delegate Charles Barkley (D-39) is a big winner here with the largest cash on hand in the race. He has used his unique perch as the House’s point man on liquor issues to raise large amounts of money, adding to a war chest he has been accumulating for twenty years. But the last time Barkley had a competitive election, Facebook did not exist and black and white mailers were still in use. This is a big field full of hungry candidates and Barkley needs to do more than raise alcohol money to win.
Council Member Hans Riemer, the only incumbent in the race, continues to excel. He has the highest amount raised ($219,103) and a low burn rate of 11%. Add to that his two terms in office, his experience running countywide, his history of influential endorsements and his campaign skills and he looks like a safe bet to return.
Bill Conway has gone from being Diana Conway’s husband to being perhaps the one non-incumbent candidate that his rivals say is most likely to win. Conway’s total raise ($215,881) is almost equal to Riemer’s and he actually collected more than Riemer from individuals. The difference is that he has spent a lot more than Riemer by employing a campaign manager from the early days of his candidacy. But since that campaign manager is former Raskin field staffer Doug Wallick, that was a good decision. Conway combines a MoCo-targeted message of education, transportation and jobs with a likable personality and a staggering ability to learn quickly. So far, so good.
The Council At-Large candidates pose for their Class of ’18 picture.
Next come the others who have qualified for public financing, most of whom have done so recently. Evan Glass ran strong in District 5 last time, knows the county well and has a lot of fans from his service on more advisory boards and task forces than your author can count. Chris Wilhelm is a progressive teacher who should appeal to his union, the powerhouse MCEA. Will Jawando is a skilled candidate who would be in the House of Delegates now if it weren’t for Jamie Raskin’s 2014 slate. Gabe Albornoz combines several networks – party, Leggett supporters and folks who have known him from his day job at the Recreation Department – and is liked by basically everyone who meets him. A group of nine candidates – Glass, Wilhelm, Jawando, Albornoz, Hoan Dang, Seth Grimes, Shruti Bhatnagar, Mohammed Siddique and Ashwani Jain – are basically clustered together financially. Danielle Meitiv will be right there too because she is close to qualifying for matching funds.
And then there are the rest. Look folks – it’s popular to say that there are more than 30 candidates in this race. But in all truth, the number of viable candidates is at most half that number. To everyone who filed an affidavit or is not close to qualifying for matching funds: it’s not gonna happen for you, OK? You’re the gazelle trying to run with a pack of hungry cheetahs. You need to show some game or don’t show up at candidate forums asking for your ninety seconds of speaking time along with the folks that are busting their rear ends and getting several hundred residents to contribute.
We have a lot of questions about this data, such as: who is giving money? Which candidates are drawing support from specific parts of the county? And why aren’t the female candidates doing better? (Of the top twelve fundraising candidates, only one – Shruti Bhatnagar – is a woman.) All of that analysis will have to wait as we are done for now.
Next: the district council candidates.