Mizeur Collects $350K for Congressional Bid; Aruna Miller Raising Money for Possible House Run

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Heather Mizeur, the former state delegate and Democratic gubernatorial contender whose decision to challenge U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R) has excited party activists and progressives across the state, raised more than $350,000 in her first two months as a candidate.

That’s just one of the noteworthy nuggets contained in the latest round of campaign finance reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday, covering the first quarter of 2021. Among the others:

  • U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D), who is up for re-election in 2022, raised just under $1 million in the first three months of this year, bringing his cash on hand total to more than $2.2 million through March 31.
  • Former Del. Aruna Miller (D) has quietly begun raising money for a second congressional bid in case Rep. David J. Trone (D) decides to run for governor in 2022. Miller, who finished second to Trone in the 2018 Democratic primary, pulled in $229,275 between Jan. 1 and March 31.
  • Five of Maryland’s eight House members reported at least $1 million in their campaign accounts through the end of March, including Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D), whose bottom line appears to have been buoyed by the national attention he received when he led the House effort to impeach former President Trump.

Mizeur, whose candidacy has created a buzz among Democratic activists, reported raising $353,543 in the first quarter of 2021. She entered the race on Jan. 28, citing her disgust with the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol three weeks earlier.

“In just the first several months of this year, Andy Harris has backed the ‘Big Lie’ by refusing to certify the results of a free and fair presidential election, voted against holding Donald Trump accountable for the deadly attack on our Capitol, got caught trying to carry a gun onto the House floor, and voted against honoring the US Capitol Police with the Congressional Gold Medal for their work to protect him and his colleagues on that awful day in January,” Mizeur said in a statement Friday. “As a constituent and a patriot, I know the time has come for a change — not just in who represents us, but how. Our representatives should reflect the very best of who we are.”

According to a Maryland Matters analysis of Mizeur’s reported campaign contributions, $40,528 of the money she collected came from within the 1st District, a conservative area that includes the Eastern Shore plus portions of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties.

Mizeur, who represented Takoma Park and Silver Spring in the House of Delegates and moved to the Eastern Shore after losing the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, reported $2,900 contributions from celebrity chef and philanthropist Jose Andres and from former New York congressman Tom Downey and Annapolis lobbyist Tim Perry, among others.

She received $1,000 checks from Raskin, former Baltimore mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton, former White House press secretary Michael McCurry, former Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews, and Annapolis lobbyist Gerard E. Evans.

National Democratic pollster Celinda Lake donated $500. Delmon Coates, the Prince George’s County minister who was Mizeur’s candidate for lieutenant governor in 2014, chipped in $400.

Unless the 1st District lines change dramatically, Mizeur — or any Democratic nominee — will face an uphill battle against Harris, a lightning rod for controversy who is seeking his sixth term.

That point was reinforced this week when the Cook Political Report published its latest partisan voter index (PVI) for all 435 congressional districts in the U.S. Maryland’s 1st District came in at R+14, meaning that in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the district performed an average of 14 points more Republican than the nation did as a whole. Maryland’s seven other congressional districts, all represented by Democrats, had PVI’s ranging from D+8 (the 6th District, represented by Trone) to D+29 (the 4th District, represented by Rep. Anthony G. Brown).

It’s unclear how dramatically congressional district lines in Maryland will change in the upcoming round of redistricting, but Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. will be pressing for a less gerrymandered map.

Through March 31, Mizeur was sitting on $318,514 in her campaign war chest, after spending $35,028 in the first two months of her candidacy. None of the other Democrats seeking the 1st District nomination had filed a report with the FEC as of Friday morning.

Harris reported raising $239,372 in the first quarter of the year and had $1,180,305 in the bank.

Other House districts

Besides Raskin and Harris, the other incumbents with million-dollar war chests were Brown ($1,195,998), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger ($1,211,954) and John P. Sarbanes ($1,008,887). Raskin, who became a national progressive hero for his work during Trump’s impeachment trial, pulled in $524,222 this quarter, bringing his cash-on-hand total to $1,568,591.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D), the U.S. House majority leader, reported $823,623 in the bank after raising $308,086 in the first three months of the year. But he spent $363,530 during that period, doling much of it out to Democratic campaigns and committees. Hoyer reported $64,000 in direct contributions to House Democratic colleagues, a $126,000 donation to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and $2,500 donations to the Maryland Democratic Party and Emerge Maryland, a group that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office.

Hoyer is facing a Democratic rematch with Mckayla Wilkes, who is challenging the 21-term member in the June 2022 primary. Wilkes, whose candidacy has excited some progressive groups across the country, raised $32,189 and banked $27,077 through March 31.

In the 6th District, Trone, one of the wealthiest members of Congress who has largely bankrolled his three bids for the House, reported raising $52,623 — $50,000 from his own pocket. He reported just $35,985 on hand, though he can replenish those campaign funds quickly.

Former Del. Aruna Miller

Miller, who spent two terms in the House of Delegates before losing the Democratic primary to Trone in 2018, filed to become a candidate for the seat earlier this year. She recently told the Bloomberg News website BGov that she would only run if Trone chose to run for governor in 2022. Miller raised $229,275 and reported $224,295 on hand, after spending $4,979.

On the Republican side, Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), who unsuccessfully challenged Trone in 2020, is raising money again for another bid. He reported $123,001 in the bank after raising $10,817 so far this year.

In the 7th District, Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) reported $303,607 in his campaign account after raising $25,730. Kimberly Klacik, his unsuccessful Republican challenger who became a conservative celebrity after a high-profile endorsement from Trump, didn’t raise any money in the first three months of 2021 but still had $691,385 in her bank account as of March 31. She raised more than $8 million for her losing bid.

Van Hollen off to a quick start

Van Hollen, who is seeking a second term in the Senate, appears to have jump-started his fundraising now that he is in cycle. He raised $996,035 in the first three months of the year, spent $117,777 and reported $2,208,356.

Van Hollen faces a Democratic primary challenge from Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd, who had not filed a campaign finance report with the FEC as of Friday morning. But there also looms the slim possibility that Hogan, the popular Republican governor, could seek the Senate seat.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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