Former Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews and State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery) continue to hold, for the moment at least, a commanding financial advantage over five other opponents in the race for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s Congressional District 8, according to new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Matthews led the field at the end of 2015, raising just over $500,000 in the 4th quarter. She reported $1.1 million in cash on hand as the campaign entered the final three months before the April 26 primary. Raskin collected $375,000 in the final quarter of the year, leaving him with $869,000 in his treasury.
But their edge is likely to be short-lived. The dollar dynamics of the race shifted dramatically last week when Potomac wine retailer David Trone announced his candidacy. Trone, a leading Democratic fundraiser and co-founder of the Total Wine & More big box chain, promised to use as much of his own money as necessary to win. He backed that up by buying nearly $1 million in television advertising for an introductory spot now on the air. Trone is also spending on radio and digital advertising.
Just how much Trone invests in his first political campaign won’t be known until the next reporting deadline, which is 11 days before the primary.
The five other Democratic contenders in District 8 lagged far behind Matthews and Raskin. Del. Kumar Barve (D-Montgomery) raised $112,000 in the fourth quarter and has $288,000 in the bank; Silver Spring attorney and former Obama aide Will Jawando took in $82,000, about half of what he raised in the third quarter, leaving him with $215,000 in the bank. Del. Ana Sol-Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) collected $32,000 in the final weeks of 2015 and had $169,000 in cash, a balance that included more than $94,000 in loans she made to her campaign.
Former State Department official Joel Rubin reported $71,000 in cash, and nonprofit executive David Anderson $47,000.
The Matthews and Raskin camps both expressed satisfaction Monday with their latest numbers. Each campaign took pains to emphasize the high proportion of low-dollar, individual donations.
In a statement, Raskin didn’t mention Trone by name but seemed to have him in mind: “Public office is something you earn, not something you buy,” Raskin said, “and there is a big difference between an election and an auction. So this is not a race to see who can spend the most money or buy the most TV ads – and if it is, I want nothing to do with it. All we need and all we want is enough money to get our message of serious and effective progressive leadership out to the people of the 8th District whom we have not yet met. ”
The Matthews campaign noted that a majority of its 3,200 contributions were from women — a critical piece of the 8th District’s Democratic primary electorate.
“It’s clear that our base of supporters is growing every day, and we will have the resources to run a strong campaign,” said campaign manager Ethan Susseles.
Both campaigns still displayed numerous high-dollar big-name contributions. Raskin reported donations from Washington lawyer-lobbyist Michael Berman ($2,000); David Kendall, attorney for former president Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ($1,000); and Mark Jacobsen, co-founder of Promontory Financial Group ($2,700).
Matthews, a former longtime news anchor in D.C., continued to display drawing power from Washington, New York and the West Coast, including former Reagan White House chief of staff turned lobbyist Ken Duberstein ($1,000); former Republican National Committee chair Frank Fahrenkopf ($1,000); former Clinton White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry (who gave $1,000 to both Matthews and Jawando); Blackstone Group co-founder Stephen Schwarzman ($2,500); and actress Barbara Streisand ($500).
Matthews also received donations from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) ($1,000) and Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif).