Here Are Fundraising Totals and Analysis For 15 Top-Tier Senate Races
By Josh Kurtz
Two first-term delegates seeking to oust senior state senators in Democratic primaries this June raised more than $100,000 in the past year, putting themselves in strong financial positions for the last five months of the campaign.
At the same time, two endangered Democratic senators who are running for reelection in highly competitive districts rang up substantial fundraising totals and have big cash-on-hand leads over the Republican delegates who are challenging them.
Those are some of the nuggets from the annual campaign finance reports that candidates for state and local offices released last week. Political professionals are watching at least 15 Senate races closely, either in the primary or the general election – or both.
Republicans are targeting six Senate districts held by Democrats, as they strive to make it harder for Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) vetoes to be overturned, assuming Hogan wins a second term. But at the same time, several Democratic incumbents are imperiled by primary challengers. And several open seat Senate races are also worth tracking.
So here is some quick analysis of the fundraising totals in the key Senate races:
Democratic incumbents targeted in primaries:
District 23 – Prince George’s County
Senate Majority Leader Douglas J.J. Peters is trying to hold off a strong challenge from Tim Adams, a wealthy businessman and military contractor. Adams loaned his campaign $150,000, part of a $174,000 haul in the past year. He had $113,000 on hand as of mid-January.
But Peters, seeking a fourth term, has been no slouch on the fundraising front. He took in $99,000, finishing with $228,000 in the bank.
District 40 – Baltimore City
First-term Del. Antonio L. Hayes (D) raised $106,000 in his bid to oust Sen. Barbara A. Robinson (D). The 40-year-old lawmaker reported $114,000 on hand. Robinson, 79, who was appointed to the Senate in late 2016 after almost three terms in the House, had $63,000 on hand after raising $62,000. That $62,000 haul included a $20,000 loan Robinson made to her campaign in late December.
District 41 – Baltimore City
Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks (D), appointed to the upper chamber last year after a long career in the House, is under federal indictment and his political future is not altogether clear. But he started this election year with more than $123,000 in his campaign account, though he raised just $5,500 in the past year.
The field of challengers is a little unclear at the moment. Teacher J.D. Merrill, who also happens to be the son-in-law of former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), is running for sure. He raised $65,000 right out of the chute and reported just under $61,000 on hand.
Former Del. Jill P. Carter (D) seems poised to run, but has not done any significant fundraising. She had just $1,800 in the bank as of mid-January. And former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D) has not ruled out running for Oaks’ seat. Although she hasn’t raised money since her 2016 mayoral campaign, she had just shy of $12,000 in her campaign account as of mid-January.
District 43 – Baltimore City
On the fundraising front, this is shaping up to be a heavyweight contest between Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Chairwoman Joan Carter Conway (D) and Del. Mary L. Washington (D).
Conway, who has served in the Senate since 1997 after half a term on the Baltimore City Council, raised $118,000 in the past year and banked more than $195,000. She has the support of Senate leadership and her district’s two other House members, Curt Anderson and Maggie L. McIntosh.
Washington, a two-term delegate, raised $95,000 and had $94,000 on hand.
District 44 – Baltimore City and County
This is a low-dollar affair so far between Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam and union activist Aletheia McCaskill. McCaskill, whose campaign has been propelled by labor support, raised just $14,000 and finished the reporting period with a little more than $7,000 on hand.
Nathan-Pulliam, who is 78 years old and has served two dozen years in the legislature, didn’t do much better. She collected $28,000 and had $45,000 in her campaign treasury.
District 45 – Baltimore City
First-term Del. Cory V. McCray, who is trying to oust six-term Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden from his East Baltimore seat, raised just shy of $104,000 in the past year and topped $127,000 in cash on hand – a healthy haul. McFadden’s campaign finance report had not posted on the Maryland State Board of Elections website as of Sunday evening – five days after the deadline.
A year ago, the veteran lawmaker had $14,000 in his campaign account. But McFadden had a few fundraising events in the fall, and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) is working hard to get him another term.
This is another generational battle that should be competitive until the end.
Democratic incumbents being targeted by Republicans:
District 3 – Frederick County
Sen. Ronald N. Young, who is 77 and whose political career dates back to 1970, is seeking a third term in the Senate. Young won his reelection by less than 2 points in 2014 as Hogan was winning the district by about 3,500 votes. But Hillary Clinton carried the district over President Trump by about the same margin in 2016, and the Frederick city part of the district has become a Democratic stronghold.
Some analysts believe the Democrats would have an easier time holding the district if someone other than Young was their nominee. The incumbent raised just under $30,000 last year, according to his campaign finance report. He had $74,000 in the bank as of Jan. 10.
That’s less than the cash on hand reported by the leading Republican candidate, businessman Craig Giangrande, who had just over $100,000 on hand. Giangrande has loaned his campaign $56,000 over the course of the election.
Frederick County Commissioner Billy J. Shreve is also seeking the Republican nomination, for now, as an acolyte of Trump. But he only had $3,200 in his campaign account.
Expect some outside money to flow into this race as the general election heats up.
District 8 – Baltimore County
Four-term Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier (D) has a substantial fundraising lead over Del. Christian J. Miele (R). She banked almost $197,000 after raising more than $111,000 in the past year.
Miele, who had one fundraiser with Hogan as the headliner in 2017, raised $61,000 for the year, and had $86,000 on hand as of Jan. 10. He’ll be aided by Hogan’s inevitable strong showing in the East Baltimore County district.
District 38 – Lower Shore
Sen. James N. Mathias (D) may be the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in 2018, running in an unforgiving district that has turned against Democrats. But he continues to raise money aggressively. He collected $146,000 in the past year and had just shy of a quarter million dollars in the bank.
Mathias’ opponent, first-term Del. Mary Beth Carozza (R), raised $85,000 and finished the reporting period with $113,000. Mathias will not do down without a fight.
Democratic open seats being targeted by Republicans:
District 30 – Anne Arundel County
Is this really an open seat? Sen. John C. Astle appears ready to hang it up after losing his race for mayor of Annapolis last fall. He has already served six terms in the Senate after three in the House of Delegates.
But Astle, who turns 75 in March, has not said definitively what he plans to do, and he had $63,000 in his campaign account as of Jan. 10. That’s about $12,000 more than Sarah Elfreth, the Democratic activist who has been actively campaigning for the seat for the past half year. She raised $41,000 since January 2017. Astle raised very little for his state account, but spent almost $68,000 in the past year.
The Republican candidate, former state Del. Ronald A. George, has been aggressively running for Senate for 2 ½ years. He reported $179,000 in the bank after raising $97,000 in the past year.
District 32 – Anne Arundel County
With Sen. James E. DeGrange (D) retiring, Del. Pamela G. Beidle is the Democratic heir-apparent. She had $101,000 in the bank after raising $54,000 in the past year.
Republicans had high hopes for the seat, but they have no obvious strong candidate yet. Anne Arundel Councilman John J. Grasso (R) was taking steps to run, but then pivoted to a longshot bid for county executive. Some GOP leaders hope Grasso jumps back into the Senate race. But he’d have a long way to go to catch up with Beidle on the financial front; he reported only $9,300 on hand last week.
Hubert Owens, a military veteran, has filed to run for the seat on the Republican side. He loaned his campaign $10,000 but did not raise any money otherwise.
District 42 – Baltimore County
With Sen. James Brochin (D) running for county executive, this district, which runs from Towson to the Pennsylvania border, represents the Republicans’ top Senate pickup opportunity.
Del. Christopher R. West is the likely Republican nominee. He was sitting on $243,000 after loaning his campaign $200,000.
The Democratic contest is between the Baltimore County Democratic chairman, Robert Leonard, and housing activist Gretchen Maneval. Maneval reported $82,000 on hand following a $50,000 self-loan. Leonard had just $13,000 in the bank.
Competitive open seat Democratic primaries:
District 18 – Montgomery County
With incumbent Sen. Richard S. Madaleno (D) running for the governor, the race to replace him is becoming a high-dollar affair. Del. Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher has been running and raising money aggressively since Madaleno signaled his intention to move on. He raised $144,000 in the past year, bringing his cash-on-hand total to $285,000.
Dana Beyer, a physician and activist who only recently entered the race, loaned her campaign $103,000 and reported $114,000 in the bank. She has run twice before for the legislature, and this promises to be a hard-fought race between two very well-known politicians.
District 25 – Prince George’s County
Sen. Ulysses S. Currie (D) is retiring, and former Del. Melony G. Griffith (D), who ran against him four years ago, is trying again. She raised almost $53,000 in the past year and reported $52,000 on hand.
Del. Angela M. Angel is also seeking the Democratic nomination. She had $38,000 on hand after raising $27,000.
But a political unknown, veterinarian Jonathan Rosero, could shake up the race. He recently loaned his campaign $100,000, bringing his cash on hand total to $93,000.
Griffith has much of the party establishment behind her – most party leaders were with Currie last time – but this race now appears to be wide open.
District 47 – Prince George’s County
The race to succeed Sen. Victor R. Ramirez (D), who is running for state’s attorney, has featured Del. Carlo Sanchez, who was appointed to the House in 2015, and Malcolm Augustine, a marketing executive and member of the Washington Metro board who is close to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D).
Sanchez took in just shy of $29,000 and had a little over $29,000 in the bank. Augustine was sitting on $101,000 after raising $89,000 — $40,000 of it from his own pocket.
A third candidate, Adrian Petrus, joined the Democratic race last week.