After serving as the Montgomery County Council’s legislative information officer for 11 years, Neil Greenberger began a new job Monday in the Public Information Office of the County Executive. But the County Council will continue to pay his $148,000 salary potentially throughout the 2018 fiscal year. Greenberger is now a Democratic at-large candidate for the County Council he served.
A bill recommending three amendments to Montgomery County’s public campaign finance law was introduced by the County Council Tuesday. The same day state election staff urged Montgomery County candidates to wait until Aug, 1 or later, to submit their applications for public campaign financing.
Ed Amatetti may become the first Republican to qualify for up $125,000 in matching county funds in the 2018 elections. He is running for Montgomery County Council in District 2, the seat now held by Democrat Craig Rice, who is seeking reelection. Amatetti has raised $8,150 in small dollar donations of the $10,000 needed to qualify for the county’s new public campaign financing fund.
Only one of the two women currently serving on Montgomery’s nine-member County Council — Nancy Navarro — is up for re-election next year when four incumbents must vacate their seats because of new term limits. This leaves plenty of opportunity for new female candidates to fill those seats on what has historically been a council dominated by men. So far, three women are running for council seats, and at least two others are considering it. The list is likely to grow longer.
A Democratic candidate seeking public campaign financing in Montgomery’s most competitive County Council District said he will use Crowdpac, an Internet-based crowdfunding platform that draws donors from across the country, to raise money for his campaign. Montgomery’s public campaign finance laws prohibit candidates from accepting campaign contributions from PACs or organized political committees. Fundraising through Crowdpac, however, is permitted, according to the State Board of Elections.
The Montgomery County Council approved an $11 million public campaign financing fund — the first in Maryland — for the 2018 elections when it adopted the county’s $5.4 billion budget for fiscal 2018 last Thursday. Four of the nine councilmembers have already filed to use the fund they set up.
There were long lines at some polling places on Election Day, and hundreds of voters waited for hours, particularly in Baltimore County. But there is no evidence of a partisan conspiracy, as some Republicans believed, just a shortage of scanners.
Democratic Rep. John Delaney struck a bipartisan tone Tuesday evening as he thanked volunteers, supporters and family for helping him win a third term in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Delaney handily defeated Republican candidate Amie Hoeber 55% to 41%. Delaney spent $1.4 million on the race, and Hoeber spent close to $1 million, plus independent spending by a super PAC funded by her husband.
A decision by Montgomery County to re-scan misplaced absentee ballots and recertify the April 26 primary election results without any public oversight, following advice from state election officials, is now raising concerns about how the process was handled. Voting advocates are concerned that Montgomery changed and then officially recertified election results for the April 26 primary election — without notifying all members of the local board responsible for certifying elections, or going through a public process.
Baltimore’s troubled primary election could be blamed on delayed training materials for Maryland’s new paper ballot system and repeated revisions to a training manual for election judges. But it doesn’t explain why major voting irregularities took place in only one of Maryland’s 24 voting jurisdictions, while the rest of the state experienced nominal problems.