D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) raised $600k since mid-December for her reelection bid, accumulating a $1.85 million war chest without any credible challengers.
Campaign finance reports submitted Wednesday show Bowser in a commanding position, having raised $2 million since announcing her campaign for a second term last summer.
Candidates weighing a challenge to Bowser, who is broadly popular, have until March 21 to qualify for the June 19 Democratic primary. In an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the primary essentially determines the winner.
While Bowser appears comfortable, a challenger to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) reported outraising the incumbent just a week after announcing his campaign.
Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, reported raising $64,000 from 226 people since Jan. 20. Lazere, who has taken a leave of absence from the think tank to campaign, is running to Mendelson's left, arguing the city has not done enough to combat poverty and the dearth of affordable housing.
Mendelson, who only started fundraising for his second full-term days after Lazere did, reported collecting $58,000, much of it from business interests.
A statement from the Lazere campaign touted his fundraising as a "good indicator of enthusiasm and support," but Mendelson was dismissive.
"It's very early with regards to fundraising, so I don't think one can make too much of it," said Mendelson, who said he plans to raise around $200,000 for his campaign.
Speculation has mounted over whether D.C. Council Member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7) will challenge Bowser in a rematch of their 2014 contest, when then-Council member Bowser unseated then-Mayor Gray. If he were to jump into the race, Gray would have to raise money at a fast clip to contend with Bowser's cash advantage.
Since Bowser launched her reelection campaign, 637 have donated the maximum $2,000. Nearly 850 small donors chipped in less than $250, a proxy for grass roots enthusiasm.
Her fundraising haul since December is largely driven by individuals, but developers continue to be a reliable source of donations.
Executives and employees of the Republic Family of Companies, which is developing high-end apartments in Southwest D.C. among other projects, gave $18,500 since mid-December. Employees of PN Hoffman, one of the partners on thethe Wharf development on the Southwest Waterfront, gave $8,500.
Five other Council members are also facing Democratic primary challenges this year. Here's a look at where they stand after the last six weeks of fundraising:
●Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) has about $12,000 available. She faces three millennials with cash advantages: Marcus Goodwin, a real estate professional, has $23,000; Aaron Holmes, who works in communications, has nearly $15,000; Jeremiah Lowery; a climate activist; reported $18,000.
●Council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) raised $9,600 to bring her war chest to $150,000. Her challengers lag far behind: Sheika Reid, an architectural drafter, and Lori E. Parker, a former magistrate judge in D.C. Superior Court, each had about $27,000, while neighborhood commissioner Kent C. Boese had $16,000.
●Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) raised $25,000 to bring his total to $75,000. His challenger, Lisa Hunter, reported $17,000.
●Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie (D-Ward 5) raised $33,000 and had $85,000 available. Challenger Gayle Carley reported about $3,000 available while three other opponents have yet to file reports.
●Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) is uncontested so far and has $52,000 in the bank.