By Adam Pagnucco.
Montgomery County is sometimes referred to as “the ATM of Maryland.” That’s because it’s the largest single source of tax revenue for the state and generates much of the state aid that is sent to other jurisdictions. But in politics, MoCo is also the ATM of statewide Democratic politicians. U.S. Senators, Governors, Attorneys General, Comptrollers and candidates for those offices are heavily dependent on the county for political money. Sure, they raise money from Downtown Baltimore, Roland Park, Towson, Pikesville, Owings Mills and Annapolis too, but from a fundraising perspective, nothing compares to the mansions of Chevy Chase, Bethesda and Potomac.
Now there’s a new person claiming MoCo as his political ATM. He’s not a Democrat. He is Republican Governor Larry Hogan, and he is blowing out the Democratic nominee, Ben Jealous.
Hogan’s fundraising edge is well known. But what has not been previously reported is how much money he is raising from Montgomery County. The table below shows that he has raised $13.5 million over the cycle with $1.5 million coming from MoCo. That’s about five times the $303,376 amount that MoCo donors have given to Jealous.
Hogan’s edge in business fundraising is huge; Jealous only received three contributions from MoCo business entities totaling $1,750. But Hogan has a 5-to-1 edge in MoCo individual contributions too and it is not solely due to big checks. Hogan’s average contribution from MoCo individuals is $239; for Jealous, that figure is $196. Do the rough math and it’s obvious that waaaaaaaay more people in MoCo have given money to Hogan than Jealous.
How does this compare to previous races? Below we compare fundraising by the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial tickets over the last four cycles. Running mate accounts are included. MoCo results are shown at top and grand totals are shown at bottom. All data is through June 10, the cutoff for the most recent 2018 report, to make the data comparable across cycles.
Of the prior three cycles, 2006 is the most comparable to the present day since it had a GOP Governor and a Democratic challenger. One difference was that Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley was running against MoCo Executive Doug Duncan, who had a natural advantage in MoCo fundraising. Even so, O’Malley did not trail Governor Bob Ehrlich by much in MoCo and had a modest advantage in total fundraising. In the next two cycles, the Democrats blew out the GOP nominees in both MoCo and in total raised. Interestingly, Hogan’s MoCo fundraising this cycle is similar to the amounts raised from MoCo by O’Malley in 2010 and the Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman team in 2014. Meanwhile, Jealous’s MoCo fundraising is in the same ballpark as what Ehrlich collected from the county in 2010.
That means the Hogan-Jealous gap, both in MoCo and overall, is extremely unusual by historical standards. It’s not surprising that an incumbent Governor would lead in fundraising. It IS surprising that he would blow out a challenger in the number one financial stronghold for the opposing party by five to one. And Hogan is doing that with former Maryland Democratic Party Chair and long-time MoCo player Susan Turnbull on Jealous’s ticket.
Jealous became the Democratic nominee shortly after this reporting period closed. With his primary rivals out of the way, he should begin raising more money from MoCo and other Democratic money sources soon. But the financial gap he has against Hogan is probably too big to be closed. And a big reason for that is Hogan’s support from MoCo donors.