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Baltimore County Democrats raise millions as most Republican campaign coffers scarce

JohnnyOBaltimoreCountySigns.jpg
John Lee
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Political campaign signs in Baltimore County on primary election day.

Democratic incumbents in key Baltimore County races are rolling in the dough compared to their Republican opponents campaign contribution coffers. Candidates on the General Election ballot were required to file their financial reports by midnight Tuesday. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, a Democrat, has nearly $1.9 million in cash, records show. His Republican opponent, former Del. Pat McDonough has about $4,600 in the bank.

John Dedie, a political science professor at the Community College of Baltimore County, said the Republican nominee McDonough cannot run a credible campaign with that amount of money.

“He’ll have no money to get on TV to get his message out,” Dedie said. “He’s depending on word of mouth and a committed core of volunteers.”

Registered Democrats outnumber their Republican counterparts by more than two to one across the county. Dedie said donors want to give to candidates who have a shot at winning.

“You don’t want to lose your investment that you’ve made,” Dedie said. “If I want to do business with the county, is it going to benefit me donating to a Republican?”

McDonough’s contributors are overwhelmingly individuals who are donating $100 or less. Olszewski’s contributors include those who write small checks and businessmen with deep pockets. For instance, he received a $6,000 contribution from the co-founder of a software company. Olszewski also received $1,000 from the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Associates Political Action Committee.

Two Democratic incumbents who are running to keep their county council seats have commanding fundraising advantages over Republican opponents who are doing little to raise money.

Councilman Izzy Patoka, who is running for reelection in District 2, has more than $637,000. His Republican opponent, James Amos, has informed the state he does not plan to raise more than $1,000 for the campaign.

Incumbent Democrat Julian Jones, who represents District 4, has more than $438,000 on hand. His Republican opponent, Kim Bryant, also has informed the state she does not plan to raise more than $1,000.

There’s a battle over who may represent District 1, which is an open seat. State Del. Pat Young, a Democrat, has more than $47,000 in the bank. His Republican opponent, Albert Nally, has $78.96 for the campaign.

The most competitive county council race this fall may be in District 6 which is also an open seat. Councilwoman Cathy Bevins is stepping down.

In that race, Democrat Mike Ertel has less than $22,000 cash on hand. Republican Tony Campbell has just shy of $19,000.

Republican incumbent David Marks, who represents District 5, is the lone candidate who has raised more money than his Democratic opponent. Marks has a significant advantage with more than $200,000 to spend. Democrat Crystal Francis has just shy of $9,500 in the bank.

Voters will cast ballots for the General Election in Maryland on Nov. 8.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County.
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