By Ryan Miner
This campaign finance summary covers Q4 (October 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015).
*COH = Cash on Hand
Candidate Loan: $100,000.00
Candidate Loan: $25,000.00
Raised (candidate only): $2544.97
Overall, it was an underwhelming quarter for all the Republican CD-6 candidates. In Q4, John Delaney raised $129,510.56 and his end-of-year cash on hand stands at $319,985.84.
Who among the Republican candidates can financially compete with John Delaney? Looking at the numbers above, you can answer that question for yourself. But answer the question honestly.
A few tidbits:
Frank Howard hired E.J. McNulty for “political strategy consulting” and paid her $1500.00. He raised only $2507.33 in Q4 and loaned himself $25K. Howard’s strategy of bringing aboard Sharon Strine and Jim Pettit shows he’s politically adept, but his fundraising is lagging.
UPDATE: In a comment left under this article, McNulty claimed she is not working with the Frank Howard campaign. After publishing the article, I spoke with E.J. She is currently not working with Mr. Howard’s congressional campaign; she only provided Mr. Howard general political consulting and strategy advice last year.
I had heard rumors that Howard’s campaign was considering hiring the brutally tough Maryland political consultant Lawrence Scott at some astronomical rate. I emailed the campaign to ask if the rumors circulating the political grapevine were true. I received the following response to my inquiry from Jim Pettit:
As a matter of policy, the Frank Howard campaign does not comment on individuals who may or may not be involved in our campaign. Doing so would reveal campaign strategy and tactics to a crowded field of primary opponents as well as the incumbent Congressman.”
I had also heard that Howard had a conversation with Scott but did not agree to work with Scott. So, again, these are just rumors – unsubstantiated at this point.
For all of Robin Ficker’s bravado and social media bluster, he’s raised no money and has no cash on hand. I assume Ficker is paying for his 4×8 illegally placed campaign signs from his own pocket. Ficker may have some name recognition in Montgomery County – after all, he’s run for various public offices in the last thirty years – but he still has no strategic advantage. People are tired of Ficker. That’s a fact.
Painter, Mason and Cheng reported no cash on hand at the end of the quarter. Painter spent the money he gave his campaign on advertisements with The Herald-Mail and the Cumberland Times-News. I’ve seen Mason’s Twitter account that shows pictures of him door knocking – a valuable use of time in any campaign – but still, he reported no cash on hand at the end of Q4.
Baker’s cash on hand stands at less than $2K. In Washington County, Baker arguably has universal name recognition, but is $2K going to carry Baker to a resounding victory in this Republican primary? I doubt it. But if Baker carries Washington County with big numbers, he may have a slight advantage that his competitors are without.
Vogt’s cash on hand is far behind Hoeber’s, but my understanding is that he has enough money to record a commercial, ostensibly to go on television in the near future. Vogt may be able to take advantage of this legislative session, highlighting his legislative accomplishments and getting a few bills passed with across-the-aisle support.
Vogt’s campaign is cleverly sponsoring Facebook ads, articulating his political positions and staking out a discernable contrast among his opponents. Data shows that CD-6 voters use Facebook as their primary social media application, and Vogt’s campaign knows this. Smart play.
Hoeber has the money – it’s just that plain and simple. She can self-finance, and her campaign has growing support and a burgeoning volunteer base. I was shocked that Hoeber didn’t raise more money, however. She’ll need to step up her fundraising efforts this year and kick it up a notch or two to remain competitive with John Delaney.
This Republican contest is clearly between three or four candidates, with Hoeber far outpacing her competitors in the money race. Money talks, no matter how much you try to spin the numbers otherwise. Hoeber has the cash to run an actual organization and grassroots campaign.
At this juncture, based upon fundraising totals and a few other factors, Hoeber and Vogt are clearly well positioned in the top tier. Baker, Howard and maybe Painter are hanging out in the second tier. Cheng, Mason and Ficker have no money and no cash on hand. Unless they have a strategy we don’t know about, money talks – and it speaks loudly.
See you at the next CD-6 debate.