With 96-days left until the April 28th Democratic Primaries is set to take place, candidates for city council filed their campaign finance reports last week showing off their financial prowess – or their poor fundraising skills. Say what you want, a candidate can have a million Facebook friends, be a longtime community association president or neighborhood leader and know every politician in the world; however without any money, that means diddly squat – and you are likely going to be embarrassed come April 28th.
Campaigns are won based on effective communications and ground games, which take money to buy literature, signs and mailers; and while you may have the most qualified candidate running a spectacular campaign on social media, if they aren’t able to raise the necessary amount of campaign cash to become viable, then they won’t even be a factor come Election Day. Big Truss.
Starting in the first district, incumbent Councilman Zeke Cohen brought home one of the heftier hauls of all the council candidates across the city. With more than a quarter million dollars in the bank, Cohen has more money in the bank than all three of the leading candidates for City Council President – a race many had hoped Cohen would join just last year. His biggest competitor in that district, if you could even call it that, is political newcomer Paris Beinart, who has an impressive $91,ooo cash on hand. But still far short of Cohen, who many in his district and citywide admire and respect.
In the second council district, which was vacated by Councilman Brandon Scott last year after his council colleagues elected him Council President; Danielle ‘Dani’ McCray – the sister of incumbent State Senator Cory McCray, was chosen to replace Scott and reported having raised almost $40,000 in her first campaign haul ever. Having only spent roughly $3,300 to-date, she still has a good portion of that saved in the coffers to compete against any and all challengers. One of those challengers is Tamira Dunn, who raised close to $17,000, spending about $500 more than McCray has to-date, leaving her with about $13,000 cash-on-hand.
The other possible challenger on record has barely more than Dunn has in the bank, roughly $15,000, despite being the daughter of a longtime state delegate who happens to be the House Majority Whip. Chanel Branch might not have to worry about the $24,000 she raised or the nearly $9,000 she spent if the Governor decides to appoint her as the third state delegate for the legislative district that houses her and her father Talmadge Branch. Chosen by the state central committee two weeks ago, Branch is still waiting on a highly controversial appointment that will be decided in the coming days. Whether she gets appointed to be a state delegate will probably depend on whether she remains in this race, given that she would not likely surrender a safe state delegate seat for a questionable council seat.
Meanwhile, first-term incumbent Councilman Ryan Dorsey is killing it over there in the third district, having almost $170,000 cash-on-hand, while his competitor Rain Pryor – the daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor – only raised a fraction of that, bringing in roughly $11,000 and having only $250 left to show. Having spent close to $6,000 of the $11k raised on campaign workers, including more than 80% of it going to her campaign manager Stefan Walker, it appears as if Pryor won’t stand a chance in trying to compete with Dorsey during the final 90-days of the campaign.
In the wide open fourth council district there appears to be a competitive fundraising duel going on over in this Northeastern part of the city, as several candidates vie for this soon-to-be vacant council seat. Incumbent Councilman Bill Henry decided to run citywide for Comptroller, leaving this seat ripe for the taking, and it appears as if there has yet to be a clear front-runner in this race.
This appears to be what we are calling the self-loan district campaign, since almost every candidate in the race has loaned themselves money to help infuse their campaign with much needed cash. The front-runner as it relates to fundraising is clearly Mark Conway, who doesn’t appear to have any campaign lit or signs dominating the district like others, but he outraised the entire pack of candidates easily. Brining in roughly $30,000, spending about $9k thus far, Conway appears to be well poised to run a competitive race in this district.
He appears to be paying the campaign firm of Tidemore, whose candidates in the 2018 races weren’t too successful, while his competitor Logan Endow appears to be relying on the political expertise of another political consulting firm known as Politicom – who has successfully been advising candidates since the 1970’s. Endow raised roughly $19,000, though $5k or more of that came by way of himself, and spent roughly $5,000 on campaign consulting, signs and lit. Nicole Harris-Crest, the daughter of the district’s former councilman Ken Harris, raised $22,000, though almost half of that came by way of a $10k loan to herself. She has only spent $370 in the race thus far, making folks wonder when she will get jump-started in making waves in this politically savvy and racially diverse district.
And while the current councilman has been accused of totally ignoring the African American portions of his district while catering to its white voters, it doesn’t appear he has weighed in on who he plans to support for his old seat. However, some may question whether his support will hurt or help his chosen candidate. However, Tim Goldsby may be who he’s leaning towards given that his longtime Chief of Staff Leslie Wietscher gave the candidate $300 towards his paltry $2,500 haul. Not far ahead of him was NAACP attorney Anson Asaka who raised $4,000, loaning $100 to himself and appears to be in an early sign war with Logan Endow.
Angie Winder, a community advocate and central committee member, filed her report a day late incurring a $20 fine to be taken from the $8,500 she brought in, with $1,500 of that coming from her own bank account. She appears to have the support of the district’s state senator Mary Washington, who gave the council candidate $250, but may not have much more to give given that she is locked into her own competitive mayoral race. A former council candidate, who ran as a Republican in previous elections, William Broaddus III, recently dropped his name in the hat but doesn’t appear to even have an active campaign account.
Another candidate who recently jumped into the race is someone the rest of the candidates may want to keep an eye on, as well-known violence prevention expert Zachary Dingle has entered the race with a firestorm of well proposed ideas and a large contingency of campaign volunteers and supporters – the majority of whom live in the district. And while he filed an affidavit during this campaign finance reporting cycle, the longtime owner of Jumoke – a juvenile rehabilitation facility that helps take troubled youth from the streets and turn them into productive members of society – is likely to drop a great deal of cash into this race.
His wife is a high-powered and well renown attorney in Baltimore City, and his father was known by many in this northeast community given his role as a very active probation officer for the Department of Juvenile Services that many elders in the community called on to help their troubled area youth. Dingle followed in his father’s footsteps and has begun putting out literature and signs throughout the district as of late and will probably be able to win over a large part of that African American part of the district that Henry is accused of ignoring.
The 5th council district pits one of the most successful council fundraisers against a community entrenched candidate who admittedly won’t raise much money. Councilman Issac ‘Yitzy’ Schleifer has raised more money than any other council candidate this cycle and appears to have the most cash-on-hand as well, as he has $302,000 in the bank, having raised $202,000 over the past year. His competitor, community activist Christopher Ervin, started off with a negative $119 balance, raised $4,700 while spending almost all of it, leaving him with only $337 left in the bank.
Meanwhile, in the sixth council district, incumbent Councilwoman Sharon Green-Middleton raised roughly $17,000 to add on to the almost $60k she already had, leaving her with roughly $73,000 to take on any and all challengers. And according to the Board of Elections website, that may not be a tall task given that her only filed competition thus far is Taurus Barksdale, who doesn’t even appear to have a campaign finance account at this point.
This is the campaign cash wrap-up for Districts 1-6 while the remaining districts 7-14 will follow in tomorrow’s DMVDaily.news. Be sure to check that out, while also tuning in to the DMVDaily Radio Show live-streamed on our Facebook page @DMVDailyNews on Friday between 5:00-7:00 p.m. as Ivan, Mark, Sean and myself sit down to discuss these reports and the overall campaign news and information that you don’t want to miss!