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Three D-16 Candidates Top $100,000 Cash On Hand Mark

by Aaron Kraut — January 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm 270 1 Comment

D-16 Delegate candidate Hrant Jamgochian (file photo)Campaign finance reports released last week show what some observers say is now a two-tiered race for three House of Delegates seats in District 16.

Three of the seven announced Democratic candidates for June’s primary have more than $100,000 to spend in the next five months.

Those three — incumbent Ariana Kelly ($122,964), Marc Korman ($120,791) and Hrant Jamgochian ($116,698) — are now viewed by some as the clear front-runners in the race, though others said it’s still too early to make that determination.

“In the last four months since we’ve been running, we’ve got a lot of grassroots support,” said candidate Kevin Walling, who reported contributions of $37,276 in 2013 with $30,653 on hand. “I think it’s going to be won on the doors and we’ve got an aggressive field campaign. A lot of folks in the race put in large amounts of their own money.”

Kelly, who narrowly beat Jamgochian and a number of other contenders for an empty seat in 2010, loaned her campaign fund $100,000 on Jan. 6. Kelly raised $9,960 in regular contributions in 2013.

Korman raised the most money in 2013, with $75,390 in reported regular contributions. Jamgochian reported $62,139 in regular contributions last year. A press release from his campaign pointed to the gap in available campaign funds from the top three candidates to the remaining three who reported:

In the race for District 16 Delegate, this first campaign finance filing shows a significant drop off in war chests between the top three funded candidates and the remaining competitors. Jamgochian is one of three candidates that all now possess a near 4 to 1 advantage in resources to the nearest opponent, putting major financial distance between them and the rest of the field.

Jordan Cooper reported $26,908 on hand and Gareth Murray reported $2,474 on hand. Karen Kuker-Kihl does not have an active campaign committee, according to state records.

Adam Beitman, Cooper’s campaign manager, said the numbers released last week aren’t as indicative as some might portray.

“In sum, we are receiving an incredible amount of in-kind and volunteer support, and this accounts for why we are less concerned about raising massive dollar sums to pay for these types of services,” Beitman wrote in an email. “We are raising more than enough money to compete effectively, and will beat out candidates who are raising more. The history of D-16 bears that out.”

In the race for Brian Frosh’s soon-to-be vacated District 16 State Senate seat, Del. Susan Lee is still the only announced candidate and seems firmly in control with $220,359 in the bank.

On Tuesday, the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club endorsed Jamgochian and Korman, in addition to an earlier endorsement of Kelly. It’s one of a few key endorsements — the Montgomery County Education Association’s apple ballot included — that are expected to come out in the next few weeks.

As for other Bethesda-based candidates, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler combined with running mate Jolene Ivey to report $6,304,091 on hand, slightly less than the $7,093,647 opponents Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman reported.

Frosh far outpaced the pack in the attorney general race, with a reported $795,909 on hand. D-16 Del. Bill Frick, also running for attorney general, reported $133,546 in available funds.

  • Adam

    This is Adam Beitman, Jordan Cooper’s Campaign Manager.

    Jordan Cooper needs $45k to win the D-16 race, and we are more than half-way to that goal and ahead of schedule. Certain D-16 candidates feel they need to raise significantly more money than Cooper, and because they are paying for many things which we are getting for free that may be true.

    Cooper has a full-time, pro-bono campaign manager with national political experience, while others are relying upon paid staffers and consultants. The same is true of our part-time Deputy Campaign Manager, a professional graphic designer, web & app
    developers and an amazing photographer–all of whom have made their contributions
    in-kind. This accounts for why we are less concerned about raising massive dollars sums to pay for these types of services. Cooper also has a strong and growing bench of field volunteers.

    Simply put, Cooper is raising more than enough money to compete effectively and will
    beat out candidates who are raising more. The recent history of D-16 bears that out.

    I would also like to observe that Cooper has raised almost twice what the current incumbent has raised. The only reason that Ariana Kelly has more in the bank is because of a previous balance and the fact that she loaned her campaign $100k a few days prior to the reporting deadline for the sake of appearances.

    Other candidates are showing up ahead in the money race because of artificially inflated self loans as well. Hrant Jamgochian, for example, loaned his campaign $120k about a month before the reporting deadline. Further, he has raised $62k and already spent the same amount on staff, ($4,300/month for a campaign manager!) and “field” expenses. He is burning through cash on items that we are getting for free, and has not yet actually dug meaningfully into his own “loaned” amounts. Even Marc Korman, who has local support, only went over $100k due to a $15k personal loan injection a month prior to the deadline.

    To say a word about another of the candidates, Kevin Walling, even a cursory look at his reports show that while he has around the same amount of cash on hand as Cooper, almost none of his contributors are from the Montgomery County community–or even from anywhere in Maryland.

    By contrast, the overwhelming majority of Cooper’s contributors are from Bethesda, Rockville, Potomac and Chevy Chase. So while Walling is beginning to raise money, none of it indicates that he has any significant support from actual voters in District-16. Simultaneously, Jordan Cooper is seeing a mass outpouring of small-dollar support from real voters in the district where he was born and raised.

    Suffice it to say, this race is quite different than the superficial money numbers indicate. A closer look reveals that Cooper has a commanding presence.

    The “smart” money is on Jordan Cooper to win this race.

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