Bowie political money flows to Democrats

Bowie residents have spoken with their wallets, and it isn't even close.

Although the city has one of the largest concentrations of registered Republicans in Prince George's County, it hasn't stopped the political donations from flowing into the campaign of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democrat running for governor.


Bowie residents donated $8,895 to Brown's campaign between June 9 and Aug. 19, according to a pre-general election report. Republican Larry Hogan only secured $505 from Bowie donors in the same time.

Heather Olsen, chairwoman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee, said the steep voter registration difference in county makes it challenging to convince Republican candidates to run. And she said donors to those candidates sometimes fear contributing due to the Democratic control held in the county.


"(Fundraising) can be difficult because people are concerned about backlash," Olsen said. "They are afraid of retaliation ... especially if their job interacts with the county government."

Olsen said Prince George's County Republicans march on in the hopes of holding Democrats accountable.

"It is good to have more than one party in full control because it can breed arrogance and indifference," Olsen said. "We need one or two Republicans elected to keep an eye on what the other side is doing."

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Bowie area, 39,999 voters to 10,536 in County Council District 4, according to Maryland State Board of Elections. Prince George's County has the most registered Democrats in the state, 442,639. There are only 46,998 registered Republicans.

Bowie's city politics also skew more toward the conservative side. The city hasn't raised property taxes in the last five years — a record — and the approval of a new multimillion-dollar sports complex didn't come with a tax increase. Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said Bowie residents are more conservative financially and moderate to liberal on social values.

"Myself, I think smaller government is better than bigger government," he said. "I think government where you can reach people on the telephone is better."

Bowie resident Charles Sims, who donated and volunteered with the Brown campaign, said his support was a combination of his political affiliations as a Democrat and Brown's treatment of his campaign staff.

"I like the way he runs his campaign," Sims said. "He is very personable and down to earth."


Even with the larger proportion of Republicans, Bowie's political donations are another indicator of Prince George's County Democratic strength. If a candidate captures Montgomery, Prince George's and Baltimore, they historically are going win the race, Robinson said.

That doesn't mean Republicans can't win. Maryland elected Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in 2002 and he didn't carry Prince George's, Montgomery or Baltimore. He was the first Republican governor elected since 1969, and he only served one term after being unseated by Gov. Martin O'Malley; O'Malley beat him a second time in 2010.

Charlie Deegan, Beltsville resident and Hogan supporter, said people are ready for a change. He said he has seen an increase of Prince George's County residents, Democrats and Republicans, asking him for bumper stickers and yard signs.

The county is heavily Democratic and hard to break through, but Deegan thinks Hogan has a chance.

"I've never seen people as enthusiastic about a Republican candidate since Larry Hogan," Deegan said. "I think you will be surprised with the support he gets (from Prince George's County)."

As the general election moves closer and voters learn more about Hogan and Brown during the scheduled debates, Deegan said Republicans and Hogan supporters may come forward.


The next scheduled pre-general report is due Oct. 24 and will cover transactions from Aug. 20 to Oct. 19.