WASHINGTON – Candidates in competitive congressional races in Maryland are raising millions ahead of the July 19 primary, while Democratic incumbents in what are considered safe seats are using their fundraising power to support the party and its candidates elsewhere, Federal Election Commission filings show.
Maryland has just two high-profile House contests this year.
In the 4th District, a handful of Democrats are vying in the primary to succeed Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Upper Marlboro, including former Rep. Donna Edwards. A primary victory is tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.
In the 1st District, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville, is running in more competitive territory and appears headed for a serious challenge in November, most likely by well-funded Democrat Heather Mizeur.
The stakes for Democrats are high in the midterms.
“History would tell us to expect Democrats to possibly lose both chambers — definitely lose seats in both,” Candace Turitto, a University of Maryland political science professor, told Capital News Service. “Then you have divided government. You’re kind of putting on the chopping block (President Joe) Biden’s entire second-half agenda. He needs congressional action on a lot of things.”
Nine Democrats are vying for the 4th District seat, but only two have shown fundraising prowess.
Edwards, who represented the district for eight years before losing a Senate bid in 2016, has raised over $625,000 since January 2021. Glenn Ivey, the former Prince George’s County state’s attorney, raised more than $297,000 since January. Ivey entered April with more than $583,000 cash on hand while Edwards has more than $460,000.
Ivey briefly was a candidate against Edwards for the 4th District seat in 2011, but he withdrew hours before the January 2012 deadline to get on the ballot, citing fundraising difficulties. In 2016, Ivey lost to Brown, who is leaving Congress to run for Maryland attorney general.
Former Del. Angela Angel was the only other Democratic candidate to file an FEC report. She has raised just over $99,000.
Of the three Republicans in the GOP primary, Jeff Warner has raised less than $38,000. The two other candidates did not file reports.
Ivey has received endorsements from state lawmakers and is also backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee political action committee, which gave him more than $158,000 this cycle. Ivey also loaned his campaign $150,000 in February.
Edwards has snagged endorsements from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and other lawmakers in the House. Emily’s List, the liberal group that supports female candidates, endorsed Edwards and gave her $5,000 in March.
Harris has been in the House since 2011 and has occupied what analysts considered a safe Republican seat.
But redrawn district lines encouraged a serious challenger in Mizeur, who has outraised the incumbent so far, with a total of more than $1.7 million to Harris’ nearly $1.3 million. But Harris reported more than $1.8 million in cash on hand, while Mizeur reported more than $1.1 million.
Victory Now, a leadership PAC of Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, has given Mizeur’s campaign $5,000. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Kensington, gave $5,000, while House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, gave $4,000 to support Mizeur’s House bid.
Mizeur’s primary opponent, Dave Harden, a former official in the Obama administration, raised close to $333,000. Another Democratic challenger, Malcolm Colombo, raised less than $2,000 and withdrew last month.
The Maryland primary was originally scheduled for June 28 but was moved to July 19 because of delays in the redistricting process.
A state judge rejected the Democrats’ redistricting map in mid-March, arguing that it was a blatant bid to gerrymander districts in their favor and get rid of the only Republican-held seat in Congress. Gov. Larry Hogan finally approved a map in late April that increased the number of Republican-leaning areas in Harris’ district.
The new map also rendered the 6th District, now held by Rep. David Trone, D-Potomac, more competitive. The Cook Political Report, for example, considers the seat competitive but leaning Democratic.
The National Republican Campaign Committee included Trone on its target list this cycle.
Trone loaned his campaign $2 million in March, according to FEC filings. His personal loan total is more than $2.5 million this cycle. Trone largely self-funded his unsuccessful 2016 House bid, as well as his winning 2018 and 2020 campaigns.
Trone is also boosting the party, giving $365,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His wife, June Trone, gave $95,000 to the DCCC in February.
Of Trone’s three Democratic primary challengers, Benjamin Smilowitz raised close to $63,000 by the end of March after spending nearly $28,000 since January.
On the GOP side, six candidates are vying for the chance to take on Trone.
Washington County Del. Neil Parrott, who ran against Trone two years ago, easily leads in fundraising, taking in more than $188,000 this cycle and ending March with nearly $262,000 in cash on hand. Two other Republican candidates in the race, Jonathan Jenkins and David Wallace, collectively raised slightly more than $60,000.
Since January, Raskin raised nearly $908,000, bringing his total contributions this midterm election cycle to more than $2.8 million to retain his seat in the 8th District.
Raskin, who rose to national prominence during impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump, has given the DCCC $250,000, FEC records show. He transferred another $100,000 to the committee in March, bringing his total contributions to $350,000.
In the 5th District, Hoyer raised over $1.9 million this cycle, including more than $388,000 since January, according to FEC filings.
Hoyer has two primary opponents, but only McKayla Wilkes, a progressive Democratic challenger, filed an FEC report. She raised over $134,000.
Of seven GOP primary candidates in Hoyer’s district, Republican Christopher Palombi was the only one to file a report with the FEC, and it showed he raised less than $24,000.
Democratic incumbents continued to outraise their challengers in the other House districts.
In the 3rd District, Rep. John Sarbanes of Towson raised more than $150,000 this cycle, including more than $47,000 since January. His campaign had over $1 million in cash on hand heading into April, according to FEC filings. His four Republican challengers have collectively raised less than $84,000.
In the 2nd District, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, raised over $625,000 this cycle. His three other Democratic challengers, including former Baltimore County progressive activist Brittany Oliver, collectively raised over $58,000.
Republican candidate Bernard Flowers raised just over $10,000. The other Republican challengers in the race did not submit FEC reports.
In the 7th District, Rep. Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore entered April with more than $476,000 million in cash on hand. The former NAACP president raised nearly $287,000 this cycle. Neither of the two other Democratic primary candidates and none of the four GOP candidates filed fundraising reports with the FEC.
Van Hollen, running for his second term in the Senate, is far outraising his challengers.
His campaign has raised more than $7.6 million this cycle.
Ten Republicans are vying for the opportunity to take on Van Hollen. Only one, James Tarantin, a merchandising company owner, has raised significant sums: just over $164,000.
The Cook Political Report rates the seat as solidly Democratic.
Van Hollen finished March with more than $5.4 million in his war chest.
Van Hollen’s Victory Now leadership PAC gave $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in March 2021 and another $15,000 in February.
The PAC also gave to the campaigns of Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Mark Kelly in Arizona, among others in the Senate.