Muriel Bowser expands fundraising advantage over D.C. mayoral rivals


The Democratic nominee for D.C. mayor, Muriel Bowser, speaks to the media at the National Press Club in Washington on April 2. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser has expanded her fundraising advantage over her D.C. rivals, reporting Monday that she has more than $1 million in her campaign war chest with less than three months until Election Day.

According to her filing with campaign finance authorities, Bowser added 1,202 donations, totaling more than $511,000, in the past two months. They ranged from the small (157 contributions of $21) to the legal maximum (118 donations of $2,000), much of the latter coming from blue-chip corporations, real estate developers and health-care firms with business interests in the city.

Bowser, in a statement released by her campaign shortly before Monday’s midnight deadline, said her campaign is “getting stronger” as voters embrace her “positive vision for the District’s future.” The fundraising numbers were reported shortly after Bowser took home an expected but important endorsement from a city labor council.

Bowser’s bankroll gives her a more than half-million-dollar advantage over her nearest competitor, David A. Catania, a four-term member of the D.C. Council. His campaign said Monday it had added about $221,000 to its fundraising total, bringing its coffers to about $465,000 for the final months.

Ben Young, Catania’s campaign manager, said the campaign was well on its way to meeting its $1 million fundraising goal by early fall. “For a non-establishment candidate, those are impressive numbers, and those are the numbers of a winning campaign,” he said. “The establishment candidate will always have more.”


D.C. Council member David Catania, an independent mayoral candidate, meets with voters at a home in Washington last month. (Mary F. Calvert/For The Washington Post)

Carol Schwartz, a former four-term at-large council member who entered the race in June as an independent, reported cash holdings of just over $50,000. Schwartz reported lending $33,000 to her campaign, roughly half of her total receipts.

Two other mayoral candidates, independent Nestor Djonkam and Libertarian nominee Bruce Majors, reported cash balances of less than $500. A report was not available for a fifth candidate, Statehood Green nominee Faith.

In the District’s first race for attorney general, most of the five Democrats running for the seat reported a healthy bankroll — none healthier than that of Karl Racine, a white-collar defense lawyer who donated $25,000 to his own campaign and loaned it another $200,000. Twenty-six of his colleagues at the Venable law firm kicked in donations, pushing his balance above $240,000.

Edward “Smitty” Smith, a former federal government lawyer, was not nearly so reliant on his own resources, soliciting 527 donations that leave him with more than $150,000 in his coffers. Smith’s campaign took shots at Racine in a statement late Monday, calling the contest “a two-person race between the people’s advocate and the advocate of the privileged few.”

Two other candidates, lawyers Paul Zukerberg and Lorie Masters, also raised respectable sums, each gathering more than 100 donations. Zukerberg reported having just shy of $47,000 on hand, a sum boosted by his $20,000 loan to his campaign. Masters reported coffers of nearly $45,000, which includes $26,500 of her own funds. A fifth candidate, Lateefah Williams, reported raising less than $10,000.

In the crowded and wide-open race for two at-large D.C. Council seats, six of 16 candidates potentially eligible for the ballot reported bankrolls exceeding $20,000.

They are led by independent Khalid Pitts, a union organizer and restaurateur who reported having nearly $100,000 left to spend. Courtney R. Snowden, a Democratic activist now running as an independent, said in a news release Tuesday she had a bankroll of $77,000; her report had not been posted on the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance Web site as of Tuesday evening.

Robert White, a former aide to Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), has more than $46,000 in his war chest, followed by fellow independent Eric J. Jones, who drew on his ties as a construction-industry lobbyist to raise nearly $45,000 in the most recent period.

Anita Bonds — a Democratic incumbent who, if history is any guide, is assured election to one of the two open seats — made little effort to add to her bank account, which stands at $28,167. Independent Elissa Silverman spent slightly more than the nearly $30,000 she took in this period through 181 donations — more than any competitor whose report was available Monday — leaving the former news reporter and policy analyst with $20,221.

Three advisory neighborhood commissioners — Republican nominee Marc Morgan and independents Kishan Putta and Brian Hart — each reported having more than $10,000 left to spend. Five other candidates — Statehood Green nominee Eugene Puryear and independents Graylan Hagler, Michael D. Brown, Wendell Felder and Calvin Gurley — reported having lesser amounts on hand.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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