Council campaign war chests swell, executive race spending revs up

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Just over a month before the June 26 primary, candidates for Howard County Council have stepped up fundraising efforts, according to the latest finance reports.

The campaign account of the incumbent county executive, Republican Allan Kittleman, is more than three times larger than that of his likely Democratic challenger, Councilman Calvin Ball, records show.

In the latest campaign finance reports filed this week, District 3 Democrat Christina Rigby, of Columbia, led the pack of of 16 council candidates by doubling cash on hand to $20,198, according to reports from the last filing period ending May 15.

District 3 is the most crowded council primary race, with four Democrats. Greg Jennings, of Laurel, still listed the most money, now with $23,177, while Hiruy Hadgu, of Savage, has $6,981 and Steve Hunt, of Laurel, has $5,851.

In District 2, Republican John Liao, of Columbia, surpassed Columbia Democrat Opel Jones. Liao nearly doubled his cash on hand and now has $9,075, while Jones, who was the first in the county to declare his candidacy, has $6,044.

District 4 has had the greatest number of candidate changes, with three candidate withdrawals since December and the last-minute entry of former Board of Education member, Fulton Democrat Janet Siddiqui, who is still in the financial lead with $95,135 on hand, the most of any candidate in the county.

Siddqui’s campaign faced a state Board of Elections investigation in March after it was discovered that the Excellence for Howard County Slate exceeded the state law prohibiting contributions of more than $24,000 from a slate to a campaign; the slate, financed by the political committee Friends of Nayab Siddiqui, Siddiqui’s husband, donated $100,000 to the campaign.

The investigation resulted in a $2,000 fine against the contributor, who also returned the $76,000 that was over the contribution limit, according to Assistant State Prosecutor Stephannie Krulevitz. The $76,000 is now loaned to the Siddiqui campaign.

Democrat Deb Jung, of Columbia, still holds a financial second in the district with $12,982 on hand, while Republican Lisa Kim, of Columbia, has $811. Columbia Democrat Ian Bradley Moller-Knudsen filed an affidavit stating that his campaign did not spend or receive more than $1,000.

In District 5, Woodbine Republican David Yungmann outpaced his primary opponent, Columbia Republican Jim Walsh in funding. Yungmann has $30,539 on hand compared to Walsh’s $5,847. Democrat China Williams has $13,266 on hand.

In District 1, the sole seat with an incumbent eligible for re-election, incumbent Democrat Jon Weinstein, of Ellicott City, has $83,218 while his primary opponent, Ellicott City resident Liz Walsh, lists $1,630. Ellicott City Republican Raj Kathuria has $12,037.02.

The other four council are open as four incumbents faced term limits.

In the county executive race, Kittleman continues to lead Ball in fundraising, with $822,692 compared to Ball’s $250,767. Columbia Democrat Harry Dunbar has $1,083. Both Kittleman and Ball’s campaigns ramped up their spending efforts, Ball’s team spent the most on field expenses with $31,795, while Kittleman focused on media, spending $61,321.

Ball also faced a Board of Elections complaint earlier this year based on errors in his campaign’s January finance report. The campaign submitted an amended report. The complaint is still under review, an elections spokesperson said.

The final finance report filing before the primary is due June 15.

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