One month before the July 19 primary election, two Republicans lead the field with the most cash in hand in the race for Anne Arundel County Council seats.
Incumbent Nathan Volke, a Pasadena Republican, is on top with $161,000 in campaign funds, while incumbent Amanda Fiedler, of Arnold, has $113,000, according to campaign finance reports.
No other candidate has more than $100,000 available.
While Volke carries the largest balance, he has no opponent in the primary race for the District 3 seat or, likely, a challenger in the general election.
Former state delegate and county executive candidate Herb McMillan donated $1,000 to Volke’s campaign while the Anne Arundel Fire Political Action Group gave Volke nearly $6,000 over the course of his fundraising.
“This is not my money,” Volke said. “I am a steward of other people’s money they’ve entrusted to me for the good of this county. You giving me money is not just you giving me money; it’s investing in a Republican majority in this county.”
Volke said he plans to use some of his campaign funds to support Republican candidates and conservative initiatives.
“I’ve been frustrated for four years with the direction that this council has taken this county,” he said.
Volke said he plans to spend money on putting up campaign signs closer to the general election and perhaps sending out a mailer or two. Not having an opponent is a signal to him that voters see he’s doing what he promised to do when he ran four years ago, he said.
“As long as my mom votes for me, I should be okay,” Volke said.
Fiedler, who represents District 5, received donations from fellow Republicans like District 31 Del. Brian Chisholm and Dirk Haire, husband of Jessica Haire and chair of the Maryland Republican Party.
She also got $3,000 from state Sen. Ed Reilly’s campaign and $6,000 from former County Council member Jerry Walker since the start of fundraising. Reilly ended his reelection campaign earlier this year.
Fiedler also collected $6,000 from the Bonincontri family, who are executives at Pascal Crisis Services. This comes the week after Fiedler co-sponsored a budget amendment with Jessica Haire to eliminate more than $3 million from the budget allocated to create a nonprofit center on the Crownsville Hospital Center campus. Fiedler advocated for the nearby Pascal Crisis Stabilization Center to have the building instead to expand its services for residents in crisis.
She did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Carl Neimeyer, a Democratic business owner running unopposed in the District 5 primary, has reported having $26,000 for his campaign. While Neimeyer may have significantly less money than Feidler, his funding is similar to that of several other first-time Democratic candidates like John Dove, a District 4 candidate who works in medical technology, James Estepp a businessman running in District 4 and Julie Hummer, a former Anne Arundel County Public Schools board member running in District 4. Dove has about $16,000, Estepp about $23,000 and Hummer about $17,000, according to campaign finance reports.
The race for District 6 features two experienced local politicians, Democratic incumbent Lisa Rodvien and former Annapolis mayor, Republican Mike Pantelides. Rodvien has about $41,000 while Pantelides has around $34,000, according to their reports.
Most of the remaining newcomers have less than $1,000 including Republican District 1 candidate Jeremy Shifflett; District 2 candidates Noel Smith, a Republican, and David Sgambellone, a Libertarian; and District 4 candidates Cheryl Renshaw, a Republican; and Thomas Wieland, a Republican.
But one newcomer Dawn Pulliam, a Crofton Republican who works in the defense sector, has the most cash on hand of all the non politicians in the council races with $66,000.
Pulliam is running in the Republican primary against Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, as well as businesswoman Shannon Leadbetter in District 7. The seat is being vacated by council member Jessica Haire, who running for county executive.
While Pulliam invested about $10,000 in her campaign, her war chest is notably large for a first-time candidate. Locklair and Leadbetter have about $65,000 and $64,000, respectively. Locklair loaned her campaign $20,000 in June 2021 and $22,000 this month, while Leadbetter loaned herself $30,000 in January, according to campaign finance reports.
District 7 Democratic candidate Shawn Livingston, a tech support specialist, has about $9,000 on hand. He is running unopposed in the primary.
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“I just feel that I’m the luckiest person in the world,” Pulliam said of her donations. “It’s about the people, and I’m with them all the time.”
Pulliam pulled in donations from a wide swath of Republicans in the state including county executive candidate and former council member John Grasso, District 31 Del. Brian Chisholm and mental health practitioner and House of Delegate candidate for District 31 LaToya Nkongolo.
“I think sometimes they try to hedge their bets,” Pulliam said, citing a donation from Dirk Haire. Haire donated to Pulliam and all her challengers. He gave only $500 to Pulliam and Locklair and more than $1,000 to Leadbetter.
One donation Pulliam is especially excited about is one from Doepkens Farm in Gambrills, which gave her $1,300. She met the owners of the farm on the campaign trail and said they resonated with her message. In fact, the were so enthusiastic about her campaign they carved her name in the farm’s field.
“He said, ‘I’m going to be here to support you,’” she said. “It’s the best feeling.”
An earlier version of this story had an incorrect cash on hand total for District 7 Republican Dawn Pulliam because of an error in the candidate’s filing to the Board of Elections.