Competitive city council races widen with campaign cash filings

Find out which candidate has what

This is Part Two of the Baltimore City Council Contest – Campaign Cash series…find Part One here.

Part Two (Districts 7-14):

While the first six districts we broke down had limited excitement, the next eight will knock your socks off. Starting in the open seventh district, where the first-term councilman Leon Pinkett has decided to run citywide to try and become Baltimore’s next City Council President, it appears to come down to two candidates, Tori Rose and James Torrence. The aforementioned Ms. Rose seems to have paid a fundraising consulting firm, J. Pope Consulting, but only seemed to amass roughly $13,000 all of last year, while spending $10k largely on consulting and fundraising venue fees leaving her with only $3,000 in the bank.

On the other hand, Mr. Torrence has amassed over $25,000 in a few short months, including $3,000 from politicians such as the district’s state senator Antonio Hayes, Delegate Maggie McIntosh and neighboring City Councilman John Bullock. Torrence has been more fragile with his money, spending only $4,000 of his war chest, leaving $20k and counting as the powerhouse company headed by Collen Martin-Lauer represents him financially.

In the eight-council district, it doesn’t appear as if first-term councilman Kristerfer Burnett will get much of a challenge given his democratic dominance over the past four years. The lone challenger to have filed thus far, Mr. Anthony Greene, doesn’t even have a campaign finance committee set up to-date, while Burnett has $22,000 cash-on-hand. However, he doesn’t appear ready to take this challenge lightly, having spent $11,000 of the $25k he raised last year, on top of the 8,000 he had from the previous year.

In the ninth district, first-term councilman Bullock has roughly $41,000 in the bank, as he raised almost $60k over the past year. And he may need to spend a good portion of that if a serious challenger steps up and begins questioning his work ethic in a district that appears upset at the lack of urgency, he has shown over the past four years. However, two registered opponents of his, Amefike Kofi Changamire and Derwin Hannah, both filed affidavits stating that they neither raised nor spent more than $1,000. Another possible contender, who says that they plan to file to run for the seat, Tyrone Barnwell, didn’t file at all as of today, and is incurring a daily penalty until he does.

In the wide open tenth council district, the front-runner in both finances as well as likelihood of winning the April 28th Primary is scholar and state central committee member Phylicia Porter, who was endorsed by the outgoing councilman Ed Reisinger. The young politically savvy challenger has raised $56,000 on top of the $10k she already had in the bank, spending about $18k leaving her with about $48,000. She received about $5,000 from elected officials from across the state, along with another $2,500 from local and federal PACs, and is also represented by the fundraising firm run by Martin-Lauer.

One of her challengers, former D.C. madame and call girl turned advocate Natasha Guynes has raised $32,000 but spent a large portion of that, $24k, on campaign consultants, leaving her with less than $8,000 in the bank. She received quite a bit of free, in-kind campaign consultation from longtime political strategist Joe Trippi, and appears to be tapping into her former clients and colleagues. And while this is the report that appears on the campaign finance website, I received a late night email from DMVDaily co-host and Guynes political advisor Mark McLaurin that states the first time candidate was in the process of filing an amended campaign report that includes three contributions totaling $3,950 which the campaign received a day before the filing deadline, however they did not clear until a day after the deadline. This would make her total haul $36,000.

Other candidates include longtime community activist Keish Allen, who brought in almost $12,000 last year but spent in all leaving her with $200 left in the bank. Youth organizer Ray Conaway, who is a part of the prominent Conaway political machine, only raised $9,000 over the past year, spending a little more than half of that, leaving him with $4,000 cash-on-hand. Bob Cockey, Cynthia Hendricks Jones and Kerry Eugene Hamilton all filed affidavits while perennial candidate Bill Marker doesn’t even have an active campaign finance account on record.


No candidate has filed against incumbent Councilman Eric Costello, who as previously mentioned in Part One of this two part series, has a ton of money stashed away waiting to trounce anyone looking to challenge his supremacy. Having raised close to $200,000 last year alone, to include with the $110k he already amassed over the past few years, and after spending $80k on God knows what; the powerful chairman is sitting on a quarter-million campaign war chest.


Now the 12thcouncil district is sure to be a barnburner of a contest, with incumbent Councilman Robert Stokes looking to win his first re-election. The East Baltimore native, who narrowly won the seat in 2016, raised almost $38,000 in 2019, adding on to the $6k he already had; and after spending only $5,000 of that, he is sitting on roughly $39,000 leading into the final three months of the campaign cycle. His closest competitor in the race is first time candidate Phillip Westry, who after receiving a handful of early endorsements from prominent organizations and unions, is looking to bank off of that momentum.


Westry, who also was represented by the powerhouse political consulting firm known as Politicom, brought in nearly $58,000 in 2019, as he also had the advantage of having the fundraising juggernaut known as Martin-Lauer and Associates. Having already raised $10,000 in 2018, and after spending $31,000 of those funds, Westry has roughly $36,000 cash-on-hand.


Longtime community leader and perennial candidate Gary Crum reported raising $2,500 and spending none of that money, leaving him with a balance to match. David Heilker, who has also been campaigning in the district but who has yet to officially file to run for the seat, has reported having roughly $6,500 in the bank after raising a little over $13,000 and spending nearly $7,000 of that.  The 2016 runner-up to Stokes, who nearly knocked off the well-known political leader, Kelly Cross – who was the first candidate to make his campaign official on Labor Day of 2018 – has reportedly decided not to run for the seat. Despite having $10,000 in the bank after raising $12k and spending $2,000 of that largely on computer equipment, graphic and website designs and credit card processing fees; it appears as if Cross isn’t willing to go through the hassles of another grueling campaign cycle.


In the thirteenth council district, where the first-term incumbent Councilwoman Shannon Sneed is vacating the seat to run citywide to become Baltimore’s next City Council President; there has yet to be a defined front-runner, as there are several members of the prominent East Baltimore Democratic Club known as BEST running for the seat, along with a handful of others. Antonio ‘Tony’ Glover, a perennial candidate well known in the district, threw his name in the hat recently, but has yet to file an annual campaign finance report, incurring $210 in fines and counting. His BEST colleague Jackie Addison, who also filed to run for the seat, didn’t open her campaign finance account until a week after the January 8thfiling deadline, which means she won’t have to report her financial numbers until March.


Other candidates running for the soon to be vacant council seat are Raymond David who hasn’t filed his report and is incurring daily fines because of the oversight; Wesley Hawkins, who raised almost $7,000 and has roughly $4k left in the bank. There is Akil Patternson, a local community advocate, who raised a whopping $28,000 and still has most of that left with $24k cash-on-hand. Clarence Thomas (and no, not the sellout that sits on the Supreme Court), hasn’t filed his report either and is incurring debt before he even files his first report. And then there’s Duane Williams, who doesn’t appear to have a campaign finance account active.


And last but certainly not least, in the fourteenth district, which is set to be the most contentious and interesting contest of all the races for city council, Odette Ramos has a commanding campaign cash advantage over her opponent Joseph Kane. Both candidates are backed by some serious politicians and each are going door-to-door daily and trying to utilize that ground game, along with social media, to make their mark on a district that has been represented by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke since 2003.


Ramos, a member of the democratic state central committee, ran unsuccessfully in the 12thcouncil district back in 2011, and probably would have won had it not been for the incumbent councilman, Carl Stokes, deciding to bow out of the mayor’s race and get back into his race for re-election at the last minute. This district is foreign to her, as some question if she actually even lives in the district. However, she raised $56,000 last year alone to help convince voters that she is the right choice for this district. Adding on to the $3,000 she already had in the bank, and having spent $16k last year on the race, Ramos still has roughly $43,000 cash-on-hand. Ramos received $6,000 from a long laundry list of state legislators from across the state, as she previously worked as a lobbyist and has strong ties to the political machines of Maryland. Martin-Lauer and Associates are also representing her.


Kane on the other hand is a local education and community leader who knew up front that he wouldn’t be a strong fundraiser, but has tried making up for that by putting together a fierce ground game. He barely raised $10,000, having spent more than half of that already, leaving him with $3,700 left in the bank. Senator Mary Washington was the only elected official to donate to his campaign, writing a check of $500 from her campaign account, but is likely not going to be able to give much more if she wants to be competitive in the heated mayoral race she is tied up in.


That is the wrap-up for the fourteen council districts across the City of Baltimore. To hear a breakdown of all these races, and what it all may mean leading up to the April 28thprimary elections, tune-in LIVE to the DMVDaily Radio Show happening tonight between 5:00-7:00 p.m. on our Facebook page @DMVDailyNews


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