Candidates who file at the last minute have an uphill battle from the get-go. They get to scramble to raise money, knock on doors and build name recognition with substantially less time than the competition. And with an unusually early primary fast approaching on June 24, the heat is on.
A new round of campaign finance reports released on April 15 offers one indication of the strength of these late-breaking campaigns.
The most impressive numbers come from District 9 Senate candidate Ryan Frederic, a Democrat, who reported $83,846.81 in funds raised and $63,733.75 in cash on hand.
Of the sum he raised, $76,000 comes from loans Frederic, who filed on the last day possible, Feb. 25, to his own campaign. The remaining $7,846 came from 19 individual donors, excluding a $1 donation from Frederic himself.
Frederic's opponent, Daniel Medinger, reported in January that he had $18,464.61 in cash on hand and had raised $20,735.93 from businesses, individual donors and two transfers from the campaigns of County Council chair Calvin Ball and District 13 Del. Shane Pendergrass, both Democrats.
Republican candidate Gail Bates, currently a state delegate in District 9A, announced in January that she had raised $20,863 and had $43,614.18 in cash on hand.
For two other candidates in contested races, powerful connections may have given their campaigns a boost.
In County Council District 1, Wendy Royalty, who filed Feb. 4, has already raised more funds than any of the other candidates on the Democratic and Republican sides.
Royalty, who said in an interview in February that current District 1 Council member Courtney Watson is a friend and mentor, raised $20,290 in about two months and has $16,404.95 to spend on her campaign in the two months leading up to the primary.
Royalty didn't receive any money from Watson, but her campaign did report a $1,000 contribution from Friends of Ariana Kelly, a Democratic Montgomery County delegate, and $500 from Friends of Brian Feldman, a Democrat and Senator who is also from Montgomery County.
The other three Democratic candidates for Council District 1 reported their campaign funds in January. Jon Weinstein, the first to file for the seat in July, had raised $16,859 and had $15,700.44 in cash on hand. Dave Grabowski, who filed in August, raised $7,610 and had $4,370.64 in cash on hand, while Lisa Markovitz, who filed in December, raised $12,685.50 – including a $10,000.50 loan from herself – and had $12,521.70 cash on hand.
On April 14, Markovitz filed a new pre-primary report showing she had raised an additional $10,135, including a $5,000 loan from herself, and now has $19,203.06 in cash on hand to spend.
On the Republican side, newcomer David "Blake" Melton filed an affidavit of limited contributions and expenditures (ALCE), pledging that his campaign would not receive contributions or spend a total of $1,000 or more.
Kevin Forrest Schmidt, who filed last October, reported in January that his campaign had raised $3,275 and had that much to spend.
In District 13, another contested race, candidate Vanessa Atterbeary raised some quick cash, as well, though not as much as Royalty.
Atterbeary, who filed on the last possible day, Feb. 25, collected $14,951 over six weeks, including a $1,500 loan from herself, and has $14,899.26 heading into the primary.
Among contributions to Atterbeary's campaign was a $2,000 donation from District 13 incumbent Del. Frank Turner's campaign committee. Atterbeary has said that Turner, a family friend, has acted as a mentor for her political aspirations.
Nayab Siddiqui, who also filed in District 13 on the same day as the deadline, did not file a report for his State House candidacy. Siddiqui, who is also running for a seat on the county's Democratic Central Committee, filed an ALCE for that campaign in January.
On the Republican side, District 13 state Senate candidate Jody Venkatesan, who declared his candidacy on Feb. 25, filed an ALCE, as did delegate candidate Chris Yates.
In District 12, Republican newcomer Jesse Pippy raised $18,100, including a $5,000 loan from himself. Republican delegate candidate Rick Martel had not filed a campaign finance report as of April 22.
In District 9A, Democratic delegate candidate Wally Carson filed an ACLE.
In Council District 2, Republican Reg Avery filed an ACLE, while his opponent, Republican Ralph Colavita, filed a finance report that shows he raised $1,327 and has $1,297 cash on hand to spend.
In Council District 5, Democrat Alan Schneider had not yet filed a campaign finance report as of April 22.