EXCLUSIVE: Warnock TV Ad Buys

I mentioned earlier that David Warnock has an ad “on TV.” Which is true. What was not clear, at least to me, was the extent of Warnock’s TV buy.

It’s big. Really, really big.

There are four major television stations in Baltimore. WMAR (ABC Channel 2), WBAL (NBC Channel 11), WJZ (CBS Channel 13), and WBFF (Fox Channel 45). Warnock has ad buys already in place with WJZ and WBFF for $197,200 and $175,100, respectively. The ad buys run from yesterday, January 18, through February 21. FCC records also show that Warnock has been in contact with WBAL and I can’t imagine he’s going to shun WMAR either.

$372,300, for two stations covering one month. That’s a lot of ads. My guess is that there’s a lot more to come after February 21.

More Charm City Numbers

And some of them are really, really big numbers. The Sun has a rundown of some of the data unofficially trickling out.

The big headline is in the mayoral race. Mayoral candidate David Warnock has loaned his campaign $950,000, but what shouldn’t be lost is that he also raised $360,000, a strong number in and of itself.

District 14 incumbent Mary Pat Clarke, facing three challengers, raised $50,000.

The Sun also reported on the numbers for Brian Hammock, which I reported last night, noting some additional contributions behind the ones I saw.

Hammock’s money includes a $3,000 transfer from state Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a Baltimore Democrat; a $3,000 contribution from developer Mark Sapperstein; a $2,000 contribution from former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s “O’ Say Can You See” federal political action committee; and a $1,000 contribution from lobbyist Sean Malone, among others. Henry challenged Conway unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2014.

That last sentence is key. Joan Carter Conway is someone with a long, long memory. You don’t challenge her without the awareness cthat she is unlikely to forgive or to forget. I am sure that she is bound and determined to pay Bill Henry back for his 2014 challenge, with a healthy dollop of interest on top. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Hammock.

The First Campaign Finance Report Is In

No, not for Congress – those aren’t due until January 31. But the Baltimore City reports are due next Tuesday, January 20, and someone had some numbers he just couldn’t keep to himself over the three day weekend.

Our first report has been filed, by City Council candidate Brian Hammock, running in District 4.


Hammock’s bio can be found here. A former O’Malley staffer and campaign aide, Hammock is a VP for CSX Transportation and was previously an attorney for Venable, one of Baltimore’s most prestigious law firms.

Hammock is running against incumbent Bill Henry, as well as fellow challenger Francesco Legaluppi.

Hammock’s campaign finance report, filed yesterday, establishes him as a top tier candidate in the April primary. In addition to containing a long list of well known O’Malley and other figures in Maryland politics, including former Attorney General Joe Curran, former Communications Director Rick Abbruzzese, former Chief Legislative Officer Joe Bryce, former Democratic Party ED Quincey Gamble, lobbyist Sean Malone, current Party ED Pat Murray, former Senate staffer and lobbyist Tim Perry, former Senator and lobbyist John Pica, and former Party ED David Sloan (that makes 3!).

As impressive as that list is, the more significant thing about it is the numbers. Hammock raised $120,863, spent less than $20,000, and has over $100,000 cash on hand. That’s some impressive fundraising right there – no wonder he filed five days before the deadline. I have to wonder if Hammock won’t potentially outraise some well-known mayoral candidates with that number.

I’ll try to keep up with as many of the reports as I can, as they’re filed. Stay tuned for more fun.

BREAKING: Second Freddie Gray Trial Postponed

Both WBAL and the Sun are reporting that the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, which was scheduled to start this morning, has been postponed by the Court of Special Appeals.

Maryland’s second highest court has intervened and postponed the trial of Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., just as the case was set to get underway Monday with jury selection.

The last minute order from the Court of Special Appeals followed a series of legal filings last week in which Officer William Porter sought to block a Circuit Court judge’s order forcing him to testify at Goodson’s trial in the death of Freddie Gray. Porter is also charged in Gray’s death, and his trial in December ended in a mistrial with jurors deadlocked. His next trial is not slated to begin until June.

On Friday the appellate court temporarily blocked Porter from having to testify, saying it needed to hear from the state and consider the issue. The state responded Friday, but Goodson’s trial was still on track to begin.

The move to compel a defendant to testify under immunity at a co-defendant’s trial is unprecedented in Maryland. Nevertheless, prosecutors argued — and Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams agreed — that the law clearly allows for such a maneuver.

The belief last week was that the immunity issue would be resolved by the appellate court quickly, and that the Goodson trial,could therefore proceed. It’s clear now that the Court of Special Appeals won’t be ruling so quickly.

Rikki Spector To Retire

Baltimore City Councilwoman Rikki Spector, a member of the Council for 38 years, has decided not to run for reelection, reports BaltimoreJewishLife.com.

After hearing the speculation and rumors about Councilwoman Rikki Spector considering retirement, BaltimoreJewishLife.com contacted the Councilwoman to find out the facts.

During a conversation that took place earlier today, Ms. Spector, the “Dean of the City Council”, told BJL that she will indeed be retiring at the end of her term. Elected in 1977, the Councilwoman served in the Baltimore City Council with distinction under six different mayors and oversaw the evolution of the Baltimore Jewish community. Always ready to lend a hand, Councilwoman Spector’s office was a known address for problem solving and providing services to her constituents.
She looks forward to the next election after which, for the first time in 38 years, there will be a new occupant in her council seat.
“I look forward to being a mentor and teacher and hooked at the hip to whomever replaces me and the city of Baltimore will be getting two Council people for the price of one,” she proclaimed.

Changing Of The Guard In Baltimore?

While much of the focus has rightly gone to the presidential, senatorial and congressional races happening in Maryland this year, the biggest changes coming in 2016 may well be on the Baltimore scene. There’s an open seat race for mayor, several council members are running for mayor, some are retiring, and virtually every city council seat is being contested in the Democratic primary. The Sun has just posted a rundown of the contested races coming up this spring.

The Baltimore City Council – a body some hope will help bring change to a beleaguered city – is likely to experience significant turnover in next year’s election.

Already, four of the council’s 15 members have said they will not seek re-election, while several others are considering stepping down or face formidable challengers. The result could be a younger council that analysts say might feel an urgency to address the persistent problems, including Baltimore’s entrenched poverty, lead poisoning, housing segregation and drugs, which drew international attention after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.

“We’re going to see the most turnover we’ve seen in years,” said Catalina Byrd, a Baltimore-based political consultant. “This is going to be a historic year for the council.”

There’s a host of interesting candidates running, but I want to exercise my personal prerogative to highlight the District 13 race. Shannon Sneed lost to incumbent Warren Branch in the primary in 2011 by 43 votes, then ran a spirited write in campaign in the general election and only lost by 225 votes. The Sun writes

Sneed, 35, a former broadcast journalist who works as a volunteer recruiter for a nonprofit, has been knocking on doors in the district and attending community events to spread the word about her campaign.

“My neighbors have my phone number. I will be present,” Sneed said. “We need a voice for people to advocate for us, for good jobs that have benefits and pensions.”

I’m hosting a fundraiser for her here at my house next Saturday, January 9. She’s the real deal. I’ll have more on the event this week, but if you’re looking to support a strong candidate who will be an advocate for change, Shannon Sneed is as good as it gets.

To my Baltimore readers: I need to know more about the goings on in your fair city. Shoot me an email and let me know the whispers and rumors.

A New Baltimore Agenda?

The Sun today has the word on plans by House Speaker Mike Busch and others for extensive new spending for Baltimore City.

Leading Democrats in the House of Delegates plan to push at least a dozen legislative proposals aimed at addressing persistent problems highlighted by Baltimore’s unrest last spring.

The sprawling package of bills would invest millions more to demolish vacant buildings, extend the school day in Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods and make it easier for public universities to hire city residents.

The proposals would pump state cash into construction projects as minor as putting roofs on community centers and as dramatic as installing turf fields and lights at Druid Hill and Herring Run parks to support a state-backed recreation league.

“When something like what happened in Baltimore trains a national spotlight on the city, you say to yourself, ‘We’re better than that,'” House Speaker Michael E. Busch said. “There’s a responsibility on everyone to come together.”

Whether Larry “What Did Baltimore Ever Do For Me?” Hogan will go along with these ideas, which Busch acknowledged would cost “tens of millions of dollars,” is uncertain at best. And the Sun also notes that the rest of the state may not feel great about devoting substantial funds to Baltimore, too. As usual, Todd Eberly has an opinion that misses the point – it’s not just about the rural areas that voted for Hogan but also Montgomery County. Our school population is growing by 2,500 students every year, we watched Baltimore get $1 billion in school construction funding commitments, we’ve waited fruitlessly thus far for our turn to come around (it’s an annual rite of spring, the calls for more state funding, the bus trips to Annapolis, and the same result – come back next year).

No offense to Baltimore but the Sun is wrong – the economic engine of Maryland is not Baltimore, it’s Montgomery County. I’m all for working together but at some point the street has to run in both directions. Lately it’s been all one way. Some way must be found to begin addressing the infrastructure needs of the entire state. How that happens with Larry Hogan on the second floor is unclear, but standing aside and simply allowing Baltimore to get “tens of millions of millions of dollars” in infrastructure spending is not a productive exercise.