BREAKING: Joel Rubin $$$

 Joel Rubin, the last CD8 candidate into the pool, raised $160,000 in Q4, and a super PAC supporting him raised $100,000. Here’s the press release just minutes ago:

Joel Rubin Raises $160,000 in First Months of Campaign: Outside Group Supporting Rubin “A New Voice for Maryland” Publicly Reports Raising $100,000.

 ​MD-0​8 – ​​Democratic candidate for Congress ​Joel Rubin, who just announced ​his candidacy ​last October, raised $159,​258​​​ in his first three months of the campaign. In addition, a SuperPAC called ​”​A New Voice for Maryland​”​ has publicly reported raising $100,000 so far along with the indication that it plans to support Joel’s bid for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District.​

“We are thrilled with the outpouring of support for Joel’s campaign,” said Rubin’s Campaign Manager, Jacob Dusseau, “Joel began his campaign just three months ago​ as a first time candidate​ and former civil servant, and each week we see more and more individuals stepping up to join and contribute to Joel​.”​ Dusseau added, “And a majority of our contributions are under $100, underscoring our campaign’s growing grassroots support.”

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.

Edwards’ Struggles With Fundraising

The Post’s Rachel Weiner has an interesting story today about Donna Edwards and her persistent struggles with fundraising in the Senate race.

Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) wants to make history as the first black female senator from Maryland. But she is struggling to find the money to compete with her primary rival, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, whose connections with donors in the state and nationwide have helped him build a formidable war chest.

By the end of September, Van Hollen, whose congressional district is based in Montgomery County, had $4.1 million in the bank. Edwards, who represents Prince George’s County and part of Anne Arundel County, had $368,500. The next round of financial disclosures are due Jan. 31.

Van Hollen has spent nearly $1 million since October on television advertising in Baltimore, where he and Edwards are not well known. But with less than four months to go until the April 26 primary, Edwards has not aired a single commercial. Campaign finance records suggest that she is struggling to pay staff salaries and come up with money for other basics in her quest to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D).

“It’s an enormous problem for her,” said Matthew Crenson, a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University. “She can’t finance as many ads as Van Hollen can . . . [and] he got [to Baltimore] first. She’s going to have trouble catching up.”

The challenge, according to those who know Edwards, is that during her years in Congress, she has positioned herself as an outsider, bucking the establishment and spending relatively little time building a donor base.

That’s true as far as it goes, but being an outsider and being a good fundraiser aren’t in any way as mutually exclusive as the article suggests. Alan Grayson of Florida, surely as much of an establishment-bucking maverick as Edwards, has raised nearly $19 million since 2005. Edwards, on the other hand, has raised far less, approximately $5.4 million, over the same period.

It will be interesting to see how the Q4 fundraising reports look. If Edwards doesn’t do better, regardless of what Chris Van Hollen does or doesn’t do, the viability of her campaign to pay staff – forget about ads and mail – will be called into question.

Sanders Haul: $33 Million

Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he has raised $33 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, all of it for his primary campaign. By comparison, Hillary Clinton raised $37 million for her primary campaign, but also an additional $18 million for the Democratic Party in the general election. Sanders had a very high burn rate for the quarter, spending 96% of what he took in, around $31.7 million.

Fairly or unfairly, Sanders’ failure to raise any money at all for the party is a weakness, even given the recent hostilities between the campaign and the DNC. Party stalwarts already viewed the non-Democrat with suspicion, and this information won’t help. Money for the party is ultimately critical in the general election, not just for the nominee but for broader campaign activities as well. This passage won’t help heal the rifts, either.

While Clinton has coordinated with the National Democratic Committee to raise an additional $18 million, Sanders has not replicated those efforts, despite an arrangement with the national party that allows him to do so.

Sanders and the DNC have had a turbulent relationship in recent months, punctuated by a lawsuit Sanders filed against the DNC in the wake of a controversy over a breach in a DNC voter database committed by several Sanders staffers.

“We remain happy to work with them,” Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Saturday, when asked about joint fundraising efforts. “The party hasn’t given us any dates for events.”

For the year, Clinton raised $112 million to Sanders’ $73 million. Clinton has $38 million in the bank heading into 2016, compared to Sanders’ $28 million.

Hillary Clinton Rakes It In

Earlier in the week, the media was abuzz with news that Ted Cruz raised $19 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Hillary Clinton has a comment: “Dude, that’s like a rounding error for my fundraising.”

Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced Friday that it raised $55 million in the final fundraising period of 2015, and $112 million in primary-election funds for the year. Clinton brought in $37 million in money specifically for use in the primary during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Clinton also raised $3 million for the general election. Her annual total is the most for any non-incumbent in a non-election year and roughly equal to what President Obama raised as a sitting president ahead of the 2012 election, the campaign said.

I’m beginning to like this whole Year of the Woman thing. Except for Carly Fiorina’s shameless pandering on the Rose Bowl yesterday, which backfired horribly.

Seriously, Clinton raised more money than incumbent Barack Obama in 2012. Think about that. And then gaze in glassy-eyed stupefaction at moron Chris Cillizza’s having awarded Clinton the Worst Year of 2015, along with Jeb Bush. That’s 55 million new reasons why Cillizza is a pathetic joke. I also highly recommend this screed listing by month all the incisive and prescient analysis conducted by Cillizza throughout 2015. What’s even more pathetic is Cillizza’s effort just this week to defend (after a month of savage attacks) his lumping the presumptive Democratic nominee with the latest failed Bush family scion.

Another emerging narrative for the New Year: just how much will the Washington Post embarrass itself in 2016? The Bezos Boys are off to a flying start so far.

Release The Hounds

In less than 30 hours, the calendar will turn from 2015 to 2016, and the furious campaign fundraising will come to an exhausted halt. But for now, the hunt is on for someone, anyone, to make a last donation and swell the coffers of the many federal candidates in Maryland. Nobody is safe; I’ve received over a dozen emails and a phone call just this afternoon alone.

“Release the hounds!” cried Mr. Burns.


Seventh State Follies [UPDATED]

[UPDATE] An astute reader points out that per Seventh State (still not linking), the post was actually a guest blog by Adam Pagnucco. I will say two things: first, the email sent out to subscribers made no mention of Pagnucco but credited the story solely to David Lublin. So my assumption was understandable, I submit.  

Second, in case it’s not clear, I do not have a great deal of respect for David Lublin as a blogger. I think he has undisclosed agendas (in his near-obsession with the Town of Chevy Chase elections this year he never once disclosed his status as the former mayor of the town and his having been a leading opponent of the Purple Line.

I also don’t like him because he smeared me in 2014, both on his own and by bringing on John Gallagher, who appeared to have been hired solely to attack me and a few others. I find that kind of blogging obnoxious and sleazy, and I don’t engage in it. My one consolation is that Lublin appears to be just as much of a hack as ever in 2015.

I don’t have as much of a beef with Adam Pagnucco. While we’ve had our share of disagreements over the years, I generally find him to be a first rate researcher and a good analyst of data. What I do believe, based on some of his recent work, is that he seems loath to give his readers enough information to replicate his analysis. I wish he’d do more of that, but otherwise I think his work is good.

Needless to say, I don’t think that about today’s piece. Quite frankly, it’s crap. But I wouldn’t have written what I wrote in the same tone if I knew it was Pagnucco rather than Lublin behind it. I would have been less snarky and less pissy, to be honest, for the above reasons. And I have no axe to grind with Pagnucco, and I hope he recognizes that. I know he usually writes the “data” pieces for Lublin, but this one was so bad it made it easier for me to believe that Lublin wrote it and more importantly here, that Pagnucco didn’t. Maybe that’s both self-justification and piling on Lublin, but it happens to be true. I don’t know when Lublin updated his post to refer to Pagnucco, so I don’t know that even if I checked I would have gotten the right information. But I didn’t check, and I should have.
So taking everything into account, I’m not going to amend what I wrote. That wouldn’t be honest, and I pride myself on that. But I’m putting this update right up on top so people know exactly what’s what and all that. And I’ve made my biases as clear as I can. Read the rest with this update in mind. Thanks for reading.


Maybe if David Lublin stopped pretending that Maryland Scramble didn’t exist, he might have written a better CD8 fundraising story this morning (no links, I don’t steer traffic to bloggers who won’t acknowledge my existence). Instead, he’s written a story that any reader here could have told him was poorly reasoned and weakly sourced, and that much of his data had been previously published by me, among others. Moreover, by the time Lublin’s story came out, new developments rendered some of his key assumptions inoperative, which he would have known had he read the several posts I wrote over the past two days about Mayday. Overall, a pretty poor performance, Professor. I’d give it a C-.

Data: much of his top line data is repetitive of my October 16 post, and the spreadsheet accompanying it is, I would not so humbly suggest, more informative with far fewer numbers on the page. With multiple quarters of data, it’s better to show the progress of the candidates over time, which in this case shows the major changes that took place in the third quarter. Lublin’s use of only aggregate data masks the importance of the most recent quarter in trying to project out future trends. It also may be why he persists in calling the $200,000 margin between Matthews and Raskin “close,” when in fact it was generated completely during one quarter, which means if that trend continues, it won’t be close at all by the end of the campaign. My data shows this very clearly. Similarly, Lublin aggregates burn rate data for the entire year, when the quarter by quarter data shows that both Matthews and Raskin geared up substantially in the third quarter. It was Q2 when Matthews spent very little, which makes sense considering that she did not enter the race until June 3, less than a month before the end of the quarter. In Q3, her donations went up, Raskin’s went down by $175K, all while he spent more money than she did. All of this gets ignored by Lublin – I have to admire his ability to ignore facts which don’t suit his preferred narrative.

Lublin has a chart claiming to represent average donations, but it’s not one that I could replicate. How many donations did each candidate receive? Which ones is Lublin including? We don’t know.

Lublin has a chart looking at contributions for the general election, which can’t be used during the primary campaign. He fails to note, however, that such contributions are always from max-out donors who want to give more than the $2700 allowed for the primary. So when he notes that Raskin has $67K in “general election” money to Matthews’ $50K, that means that his super big donors gave more than Matthews’ did. Which Lublin doesn’t mention, presumably because it doesn’t fit his preordained narrative of rich Kathleen versus grassroots Jamie. I also think that it would be far more informative to show general election “dead money” as a percentage of cash on hand, not as a percentage of a concocted number that doesn’t include unitemized individual contributions. Looked at this way, 5.7% of Matthews’ cash on hand is dead money, while dead money constitutes 9.8% of Raskin’s COH – 72% higher than Matthews.

I’ve written extensively about how I believe the fixation with in-state versus out of state campaign contributions is not an argument that is going to persuade anyone other than already zealously committed partisans. Lublin doesn’t begin to try to counter my arguments – a problem when you ignore the fact that I’m here, chirping away on a daily basis – but again proceeds from the preconception that out of state money is bad, bad, bad. Hence the multiple charts harping on this non-issue. Question for Lublin and like-minded partisans: if out of state money is so bad, why does Raskin take it? He knows how to draw such lines – he doesn’t take corporate, PAC or partnership money. So the fact that he takes out of state money at all means that he sees it very differently from other categories of donations. Which means that both Raskin and his supporters like Lublin should really stop harping on this issue, because it’s just not a good argument they’re making.

Where things really fall apart for Lublin is in his “takeaways from the data.” The first two paragraphs have to win some kind of prize for wrongness – every single assertion is either unrelated to the data, not supported by the data, or demonstrably wrong. Let’s go through it.

“Kathleen Matthews’ campaign was predicated on blowing away the rest of the field in fundraising.” There’s nothing in the data to show this, and Lublin doesn’t bother to even attempt to source it. It’s an assumption – an assumption that gives Lublin away as a Raskin fanboy. Money bad, Kathleen has money, Kathleen bad. Not exactly deep thinking there. I think many people believed at the outset that Raskin would raise all the money, that Matthews would get a few big contributions from her rich friends, and that she would be exposed as a weak candidate. So much for the conventional wisdom, hmmmm?

“That is happening with the notable exception of Senator Jamie Raskin, who has so far remained close to her.” As I said above, a $200,000 COH gap generated in one quarter is not “close.” Raskin raised $175,000 less in Q3 than Q2, and still spent more than Matthews. Not good. I wrote in my October 16 post that Raskin could turn this around, but there is no data to suggest that this will happen. Or that it won’t. That’s why I said that the fourth quarter is critical. Lublin thinks all is well, which is just more preaching to the converted.

“One factor that could change that is if Matthews’ wealthy supporters open a Super PAC on her behalf. Super PACs are not supposed to coordinate directly with candidate campaigns, but they can raise unlimited contributions and spend them on both positive and negative communication. One can easily imagine twenty Matthews supporters each chipping in $100,000, thereby instantaneously bringing an extra $2 million into the race for their candidate.” Here, Lublin stops trying to base his “analysis” on the data and drops any pretense of objectivity. He spins a purely conjectural vision of a Matthews super PAC coming in and having an impact on the race. Hey, Dave, I’ve got a different vision: “one can easily imagine a pro-Raskin campaign finance reform super PAC blundering into CD8 parroting precisely the arguments of the Raskin campaign, raising the specter of illegal coordination and outside influence, while simultaneously undercutting arguments about out or state money and damaging if not destroying the carefully crafted image of Raskin as a good government, grassroots, campaign finance reform advocate kind of guy.” Oh, wait, mine already happened. My bad, sorry. Maybe if you read my stuff . . . oh, never mind.

“Senator Raskin’s strategy of community organizing is paying off big-time for his fundraising. He is leading or nearly tied in fundraising in every populous CD8 community except Chevy Chase and his relatively low average contribution rate leaves plenty of room for repeat contributions. His two biggest challenges are countering Matthews’ likely appeal to women and what happens to his campaign once he has to go back to Annapolis for session next January.” Paying off big time? In what universe? He’s $200,000 behind. Oh, wait, I forgot, only in-state contributions count, cause those other ones are icky and have cooties. News flash: out of state dollars spend precisely the same as in-state. So to say Raskin is “leading or nearly tied in fundraising” is delusional. Money is money, no matter how distasteful the inside baseball guys like Lublin might see it.

To be fair, the last sentence is actually accurate: Matthews is likely to receive the endorsement of EMILY’s List, which will bring in – oh dear – more outside money. Of course, it’s hard to criticize that source of money without further alienating a crucial chunk of voters, so Lublin doesn’t go down that road. And the challenge of simultaneously being a candidate and a legislator is a real and important issue that has so far not received much public attention. I have my views on the subject but this post is already long enough, so I’ll save that for another day.

Bottom line: just because someone puts up a bunch of charts with numbers doesn’t make the “analysis” any better. Suspect numbers, errors and omissions, and a conclusion that has almost no relationship to what has come before but which strips away any pretense of objectivity that “Professor”Lublin clearly aspires to. That’s MY takeaway, and on second thought, I think my grade of C- was very, very generous.

Edwards & Van Hollen Spar Over Fundraiser

John Fritze has the story of a running gun battle between Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen over a fundraiser who used to be a lobbyist in the financial sector, but hasn’t held that position since 2011. 

Rep. Donna Edwards has for weeks criticized her opponent in Maryland’s Senate race for a fundraiser hosted by a former Wall Street lobbyist, arguing the event underscores Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s relationship with the financial sector.

The Van Hollen campaign counters that the former lobbyist, Douglas Lowenstein, and the other hosts of the fundraiser, are involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The event, the Van Hollen camp says, was intended to support the congressman’s efforts on that disease.
“This event was organized by me and three friends, all of whom are linked together by one overriding issue: We or our loved ones have type 1 diabetes,” Lowenstein wrote in a letter released by the Van Hollen campaign Monday.

Seems pretty innocuous. But Donna Edwards was having none of it. Hint: when you’re in a hole, stop digging.

Edwards appears unconvinced by the argument, which Van Hollen aides made last month in a Washington Post piece that mentioned the dispute.

“Even just last week, I think, Mr. Van Hollen had a fundraiser that was hosted by a guy who tried to undo the Dodd-Frank regulations,” Edwards said during an interview on WYPR last week. “And so I know that I’m very clearly on the side of people.”
An Edwards spokesman said in a statement in response to Lowenstein’s letter that it is “disappointing” Van Hollen is raising campaign money off of his work on diabetes. “That money should be going to fund diabetes research,” spokesman Ben Gerdes said.

Oh, dear lord. Really, Ben Gerdes? You getting paid for that gratuitous advice? Come on.

John Fritze is too nice.

This dispute is largely beside the point.

Neither Edwards nor Van Hollen have taken significant sums of campaign cash from Wall Street — at least not yet. Both voted in favor of Dodd-Frank. Edwards notes that Van Hollen has declined to swear off future Wall Street cash, but that’s not the same thing as actually taking the money.
Might Van Hollen — who describes himself as an “effective” progressive — be a more palatable option to Edwards for some in the financial services industry? Perhaps. Van Hollen would point to a boatload of bills he’s introduced that Wall Street doesn’t like. Edwards would counter that those bills never stood a chance, and so they present little threat to the industry.
But it’s just as possible that Wall Street mostly sits this race out. It’s also likely Van Hollen, aware of these attacks, will be careful about taking any checks arriving in the mail from New York.
Given Van Hollen’s large advantage in fundraising to date, that may be Edwards’ ultimate goal.

Yes, but it’s more than that. My take: Donna Edwards needs to find some way to make her point that doesn’t cast aspersions on the donor, who from all evidence is highlighting juvenile diabetes. A worthy cause. And supporting his preferred candidate. Which is his choice to make.

Even Daily Kos Is Worried

A million years ago (actually, my last blog post there was in April, 2007) I was a pretty regular poster at Daily Kos. I started in the summer of 2004 and had some moderate renown, but eventually left because things got ugly in 2008 and because I had more pressing matters to deal with at home. My last comment there was in 2011.

But even as it’s gotten bigger and bigger, and sometimes loonier, I’ve still retained my affection for the place. There’s a lot of great people associated with the orange behemoth, and I made – and retained – some great friendships there, both virtual and carbon-based. One of these days I want to go back and say hi to some of these folks and let them know what I’m up to now. It’s been a long strange trip, without question.

Since I left, they’ve developed a great Daily Kos Elections section of the blog, which didn’t exist when I was active, but if it had I would have been right in the thick of it. They report on election-related developments all over the country in all kinds of races, and their coverage is first rate. They’ve even linked to me a time or two, but I don’t think they know I used to be one of them.

DK has been a big part of Donna Edwards’ early progressive support. Folks there were enthusiastic and a decent bit of money flowed her way from the site. Just setting the scene.

Second, one thing to keep in mind about Kossacks, and again I mean no disrespect. Whatever they think, they think it passionately. Doubt is for sellouts and Republicans. Once a position is taken, that is that and no dissent will be brooked thereafter. It’s both a strength and sometimes a weakness of the place.

So keeping these two things in mind, there was a very interesting post today by Jeff Singer, one of the election gurus there. It’s a morning digest of election related material, and can be found here. And it’s clear that at least some question about Donna Edwards’ fundraising position has emerged at Daily Kos. After noting that Edwards leads Van Hollen in the Washington Post poll from last week, Singer writes:

But while Edwards is faring well in the polls, she’s still trailing badly in fundraising. She managed to raise $638,000 in the just-concluded third quarter, which is better than her prior efforts, but in a troubling sign, she actually spent more ($688,000) than she took in. That’s left her with just $369,000 in the bank; meanwhile, the thriftier Van Hollen raised $950,000 during the same timeframe and increased his available cash from $3.5 million to $4.1 million. Unless Edwards turns things around, Van Hollen will be able to make up his polling gap once the paid media portion of the campaign arrives.

Even accepting that some third party groups will spend on Edwards’ behalf, at the rate things are going she’s going to be $5-6 million behind Van Hollen by the time early voting starts in less than six months. That’s going to be hard if not impossible to make up, even with help. And when even your passionate and stalwart friends feel compelled to note this problem now, that’s not good.