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What Towson-area council candidates are raising and spending

Towson-area council candidates are reporting a wide range of fundraising and spending in their first campaign finance reports since the June 26 primary.

Local residents will vote in one of two council races in the Nov. 6 general election. The campaign finance reports, which were due Aug. 28, show both Republican incumbents — David Marks and Wade Kach — spending thousands more than their opponents, with Marks of District 5 spending $34,770 to his opponent’s $24. Meanwhile, on the fundraising side, District 3 challenger Colleen Ebacher has garnered in excess of $5,000 more than Kach during the reporting cycle.

Towson, along with Parkville and Perry Hall, will vote in the District 5 race between Marks and Democrat Alex Foley.

Marks, who if elected would be in his third and final term, describes himself as an “independent” council member who does not hesitate to veer from the party line when he disagrees. Foley, vice president of the Ridgeleigh Community Association, said in June that he wants to focus on the environment and improve basic county services, like trash pickup.

North of the Beltway, voters will choose in District 3’s race between Kach and Ebacher, a Democrat.

Kach, a former math teacher and school system auditor, is seeking a second term. The self-described “reformer” has a reputation for being uncompromising and voting “no” when he believes it is the right thing to do. Ebacher, a Towson University professor, who describes herself as a progressive, is running on a platform of environmentalism and sustainable development.

The Aug. 28 deadline required candidates to report spending between June 11 and Aug. 21. The next deadline is Oct. 12.

District 5: Towson, Parkville, Perry Hall

Marks raised and spent more than any other council candidate in the Towson area, with a bank account more than seven times as full as fellow incumbent Kach’s.

The Republican candidate raised $11,655 in contributions between June 11 and Aug. 21. Another $2,913.98 in funds from the Leadership for Northeast Baltimore County slate brought his total bank account balance to $269,513.97.

Foley, Marks’ opponent, raised $1,020 this reporting cycle, bringing his balance to $1,856, but $1,000 of that total was from the candidate’s own pocket.

“Money is only one ingredient in winning an election,” Marks said. He attributed Foley’s much lower fundraising to the fact that Foley has not attended candidate forums.

Foley said he plans on speaking more publicly about his campaign, but felt that his campaign strategy so far has worked. He declined to specify what that strategy is.

“What I’ve been doing and how it’s been operating has worked exceedingly well,” Foley said. As an example, Foley pointed to the primary election results, in which he received 27 more votes in the Democratic primary than Marks did in the Republican primary, according to the Maryland Board of Elections. Marks and Foley each had one opponent.

Kimberly Realty Co., with $4,000 in contributions, was Marks’ largest contributor this election cycle. The company has no online presence and listed a P.O. box on the campaign finance report. That P.O. box is the same one listed for campaign donations by developer Apartment Services Inc., which according to its website owns at least five apartment buildings in Marks’ district.

Other generous contributors to Marks’ campaign include Rosedale Care Inc., which gave his campaign $1,000 this reporting cycle and $3,000 to date. Rosedale Care is associated with the Mullan Contracting Co., a developer whose projects listed online include an expansion of Towson’s Blakehurst Senior Living’s assisted living facility, completed in 2017.

Marks spent more than $8,000 on campaign mailers, his largest expenditure. His campaign also transferred $23,400 to other Republican campaigns, including Baltimore County executive candidate Al Redmer, state Del. Kathy Szeliga and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. The Republican candidate’s campaign spent $34,778 total.

Foley spent only $24 directly between June 11 and Aug. 21, all on bank charges. His campaign was also billed about $500 for campaign materials but had not yet paid when the report was filed.

District 3: Lutherville-Timonium, Cockeysville, northern Baltimore County

Kach did not raise as much as his Democratic opponent this reporting cycle, but he has more in the bank.

Kach raised only $775, in contrast to Ebacher’s $6,242. But with $37,611, Kach has nearly $26,000 more in the bank than Ebacher.

“I think we’re doing great,” Ebacher said of her campaign’s fundraising. “We’re running a very smart campaign, a very grass-roots campaign.”

Ebacher said her campaign is raising money by knocking on more than 1,000 doors a week and by running online fundraising campaigns on social media.

Kach did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kach’s contributions this cycle came from nine individuals, with one giving more than $1,000.

Ebacher received about 30 contributions from individuals, as well as one contribution from the Maryland State Education Association. Other than a contribution from a family member of Ebacher’s, none of the contributions totaled more than $500.

Kach’s largest expenditures were about $2,000 each on printing brochures and postage.

Ebacher spent $1,241 on printing and campaign materials. Her campaign’s largest single expense was $1,200 to the Maryland Democratic Central Committee to purchase access to a voter database.

She said that the campaign is saving money by sending personalized, volunteer-written postcards instead of frequent glossy mailers, which Ebacher said more likely than not end up in the recycling bin.

In the future, Ebacher said her campaign will be spending money to print literature and yard signs.

As a whole, Ebacher spent $2,760, while Kach spent $5,755.

This article has been updated to reflect the correct difference in votes between David Marks and Alex Foley. The correct number is 27.

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