With primaries in June this year instead of September, legislative candidates in Maryland have three fewer months to raise money. But that hasn’t lessened their take, according to a new analysis by Common Cause Maryland.
Despite the compressed campaign schedule, the group found that both House and Senate incumbents had actually raised somewhat more money collectively heading into the home stretch of the June primary this year than those same members did at the equivalent point before the September primary in 2010.
The Common Cause analysis, based on reports filed Tuesday, found that among the 89 House incumbents who ran in both cycles, fundraising was up $80,530 this year. Among the 39 Senate incumbents, it was up $53,560.
Collectively, the House incumbents had raised $5.5 million for their races as of last week, an average of $61,161, Common Cause said. The Senate incumbents had raised $5.2 million, an average of $133,193.
Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, said the results were not terribly surprising, given that elections tend to get more and more expensive. But Bevan-Dangel also said another factor appears to be in play: a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that led Maryland to stop enforcing a $10,000 limit on what individual donors can contribute during a four-year election cycle.
“This is the first trickle in what could become a flood,” she said. “The legislature needs to take this seriously and enact reforms that will enable candidates to focus on the most important part of campaigns: connecting with constituents and talking about policies that would improve our communities and our state.”