Since the 2006 election, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman has raised $912,686, according to campaign finance reports, and he's got another big fundraising event planned for late March that should put him well over the $1 million mark.
In the most recent annual report filed this month, 65 percent of the $364,277 Ulman collected in the past year - $236,000 - came in chunks of $1,000 or more.
All those large donations came from 163 gifts ranging up to the $4,000 legal limit, often from developers and business interests, including vehicle dealers, construction firms, lawyers, the operators of Merriweather Post Pavilion and the Virgin Mobile Festival organizers, who held their event at Merriweather last summer. Slightly more than one-third of the total he has raised in the past three years was spent along the way, much of it for salaries and fundraising expenses.
Also in the latest report, Ulman got $14,850 in political action committee money, including $2,000 each from the county's police and firefighters union. Since the last election, those two unions' PACs have contributed a combined $11,850. According to the report, Ulman spent $94,703.82 and had $573,183 on hand.
The executive makes no apologies for his prolific fundraising.
"I work hard at it," he said of developing relationships with people he meets. He said that sometimes, later, he calls them to ask for donations. Ulman, like other county elected officials and candidates, has always maintained that money is required to run a successful campaign, but despite the suspicions of some, donors don't get preferential treatment or consideration.
"We have people who can afford larger contributions. I'm really pleased we have a range of contributors," he said. "I'm glad to have the support of the business community."
Trent Kittleman, the former Ehrlich administration Cabinet official planning to run against Ulman, reported raising $11,460, with $8,038 on hand. The unannounced candidate has a fundraising event scheduled next month.
Other reports provide a few other interesting tidbits.
County Councilman Calvin Ball, an east Columbia Democrat, reported raising a middling $24,293 and has $56,182 on hand, but more than 60 percent of his money also came from business people and developers, many of whom attended an April fundraising event he held.
"I'm honored to be supported by a broad spectrum of my community," Ball said. "People give what they can, whether it's volunteering, or a $10 check, or a $1,000 check." He said his votes for county schools or public safety, for example, aren't determined by how much he received from those interest groups.
Anthony Jordan, a Republican opposing Ball, reported raising $2,759 but has only $454 on hand.
Among state legislators who represent Howard County, Republican Dels. Warren E. Miller and Gail H. Bates might seem safe in their western county/Ellicott City District 9a that has consistently elected Republicans in recent years, but Democratic challenger Maryann Maher reported raising $40,679, and had $35,332 left, more than either of the incumbents. Maher got nearly half her money from five large donations from her father and siblings in Florida, the Dominican Republic and Quebec. Jon Weinstein, another Democrat running in that same district, reported $11,726 on hand from $15,150 raised.
Miller showed $27,571 on hand, and Bates had $27,478. They have another $4,282 in a joint account. Their district's state senator, Republican Allen H. Kittleman, the Senate minority leader, had $50,677.
Democrat Del. Guy Guzzone had more money than any other county legislator, with $130,567 in the bank. He said he's done nothing unusual to raise money this term.
"I have my events like everybody has their events. I'm really pleased I have that much support," he said. Guzzone's District 13 colleague Frank Turner reported $29,939 on hand, while Del. Shane Pendergrass had $80,467. The combined "Team 13" slate also reported $35,000 on hand. Republican Ed Priola, who hopes to unseat one of the three delegates, reported $2,546 on hand, while Jeff Robinson's report showed $7,520 raised with $4,438 unspent. GOP District 13 senate candidate Kyle Lorton had $12,220 compared to Democratic state Sen. James N. Robey's $73,102.
Howard's other Democratic state senator and the Senate majority leader, Edward J. Kasemeyer of District 12, reported $92,157 on hand. Del. James Malone, a Democrat, had $55,000 on hand, while Del. Steven DeBoy, who with Malone represents District 12a, including parts of Elkridge and Baltimore County, had $25,293. District 12b Del. Elizabeth Bobo runs in a single-member delegate district covering liberal west Columbia that has made her seemingly unbeatable. She had $54,227 on hand compared to the $2,035 Republican John Bailey raised. He had only $403 left.
Council Chairwoman Courtney Watson is the top fundraiser on the County Council, showing $46,289 raised in the past year, but $76,866.48 cash on hand. Watson said that "reflects ... being in the county's only swing district.
"Like me," she said, "the voters in District 1 are independent-minded. It's good to have the resources to remind them why they want me to continue being their link to local government." District 1, covering Ellicott City and Elkridge, has elected several Republicans to the council in recent years, including Christopher J. Merdon, who held the seat for two terms before Watson won it.
Former delegate and state transportation secretary Robert L. Flanagan would like to be the next Republican in the seat, though he has not declared his candidacy. He reported raising $1,825 but has a fundraiser scheduled at Savage Mill.
Councilwoman Jen Terrasa, a Democrat representing the southeastern part of the county, is the other incumbent, with a likely opponent in Republican Dennis R. Schrader, a former councilman and Ehrlich administration Cabinet member who has also not declared he is running. Terrasa reported raising $36,580, but has $50,407 on hand, compared with Schrader's $5,025.
West Columbia Democrat Mary Kay Sigaty has the least money among council incumbents, with $13,416 raised this past year and just a few hundred dollars more left on hand. She, like Democrat Mary Lorsung before her, has traditionally run low-budget campaigns. She, too, is planning another event in March, she said.
She plans to run on her record, she said, noting that no one has stepped up to oppose her. She even collected a $100 donation from John Bailey, a Republican candidate opposing Bobo in District 12b. Bailey is a Hickory Ridge Village Board member and said he's worked well with Sigaty and supports her on the downtown Columbia plan.
Rather than raise and spend lots of money, Sigaty said she prefers door-to-door campaigning.
"I've spent a lot of time on the street, talking to people I don't [already] know," she said. Sigaty's district has generally been safe for Democrats, especially incumbents.
Greg Fox, the council's only Republican, also represents a district covering mostly western Howard that has been "safe" for the GOP. He's got about $25,000 on hand, he said, though technical problems have delayed his report showing up on the state's Web site. Fox said he expects to have two fundraisers, in March and May, to increase his total to around $50,000.
"I think I'm in good shape, but I don't take anything for granted," he said.
Follow the numbers Cash on handCOUNTY EXECUTIVEKen Ulman (D)… $573,183 Trent Kittleman (R-challenger)… $8,038 COUNTY COUNCILDistrict 1Courtney Watson (D)… $76,866.48 Robert L. Flanagan (R-challenger?)… $1,825 District 2Calvin Ball (D)… $56,182 Anthony Jordan (R-challenger)… $454 District 3Jen Terrasa (D)… $50,407 Dennis R. Schrader (R-challenger)… $5,025 District 4Mary Kay Sigaty (D)…$13,72.59 No challengerDistrict 5Greg Fox (R)… about $25,000STATE DELEGATIONWest County-District 9AWarren Miller (R)… $27,571 *Gail Bates (R)… $27,478 *Maryann Maher (D-challenger)… $35,332 Jon Weinstein (D-challenger)… $11,726 West County-District 13Guy Guzzone (D)… $130,567 ** Frank Turner (D)… $29,939 **Shane Pendergrass (D)… $80,467 **Ed Priola (R-challenger)… $2,546 Jeff Robinson (R-challenger)… $4,438 West County-District 13 senateJames N. Robey (D)… $73,102 Kyle Lorton (R-challenger)… $12,220 West County-District 12Edward J. Kasemeyer… $92,157 West County-District 12aJames Malone (D)… $55,000 Steven DeBoy (D)… $25,293 No challengerWest County-District 12bElizabeth Bobo… $54,227 John Bailey (R-challenger)… $403
* Plus $4,282 in a joint account
** Plus: The combined "Team 13" slate also reported $35,000
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