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 drop in available campaign funds from the top three candidates to the remaining ones:
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.