By Adam Pagnucco.
Let’s start looking at the Council At-Large candidates who have qualified for public matching funds.
Riemer, who is finishing his second term, is the only incumbent in the at-large race. His contributions are heavily based in Downtown Silver Spring and Bethesda, the twin poles of Democratic Downcounty politics. He is weaker in places like Rockville and Upcounty. Riemer’s fundraising reflects his smart growth, urban-focused brand and fits the Democratic Crescent nicely. Our hunch is that he will finish first in both Bethesda and Silver Spring en route to his third term in office. (Disclosure: the author was once employed by Riemer.)
Here is an amazing fact: in a public financing system that includes multi-term incumbents like Riemer, Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, first-time candidate Bill Conway is the number one fundraiser in both Potomac and Chevy Chase. He has also done well in Bethesda. Conway could use more exposure in Silver Spring. If he gets that, he could combine a top two or three performance in Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac with a smattering of votes in other areas and get a ticket to the County Council.
Second-time candidate Evan Glass, who almost won the District 5 seat four years ago, has a decade-long history of civic leadership in Downtown Silver Spring which is reflected in his fundraising. Glass has raised almost as much money there ($18,573) as has Marc Elrich ($20,763). Glass needs to grow his base, with the logical targets being other areas in District 5 like East County Silver Spring, Burtonsville, Takoma Park and Forest Glen as well as western parts of the Crescent. As it is, he has a good shot to win.
Dang is also a second-time candidate, having finished fifth of six candidates in the 2010 District 19 Delegate race despite doing a good job in fundraising. Dang has done pretty well in public financing but he is not dominating anywhere and has not shown a lot of strength in the Crescent. He could use some institutional backing and more support in places like Bethesda and Downtown Silver Spring to increase his chances of victory.
County Recreation Department Director Gabe Albornoz is by far the leading fundraiser in Kensington, where he has a large base of family and friends. Other than that, he is not among the fundraising leaders in any of the county’s Democratic strongholds. Albornoz has three useful networks: his professional network from his day job, the contacts he has accumulated during his service on the county’s Democratic Central Committee and the supporters of County Executive Ike Leggett, who has endorsed him. Albornoz needs to continue to monetize those networks and get a couple key endorsements, like the Washington Post. If he can do that, he has a path to victory.
We will finish looking at the Council At-Large qualifiers tomorrow.