Competing fundraisers for statewide Democratic candidates

Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown

Three Democratic candidates for governor and comptroller are having competing fundraisers Wednesday night.

Tonight in Baltimore, far from their home bases in the Washington suburbs, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Comptroller Peter Franchot are holding fundraisers in their undeclared race for governor in 2014.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a close ally of the governor, are hosting the event for Brown at the Museum of Industry on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Tickets range from the VIP reception price of $4,000 – the maximum anyone can give to a state candidate before the 2014 primary – to $1,000 for hosts and $250 for regular guests. Brown is the only prominent African-American in a primary race where black voters from the city and his own Prince George’s County will play a major role.

Peter Franchot

Comptroller Peter Franchot

A short hop away at Sabatino’s in Little Italy, Franchot holds another of a series of fundraisers in his unannounced campaign. Sponsors pay $2,000, hosts are $1,000 and regular guests can get in for a mere $100.

Rosapepe, Barve

Thirty miles away in Bethesda, Sen. Brian Frosh, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and eight other men are hosting a reception for College Park Sen. Jim Rosapepe “because we think he would be a great Maryland comptroller,” says the invite from Frosh. Tickets range from $250 to $1,000.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe

Sen. Jim Rosapepe

Rosapepe is “considering running for this important office,” the letter says, “with the expectation that the comptroller’s office will be an open race in 2014.”

That’s the same presumption that led to a fundraiser Tuesday night for House Majority Leader Kumar Barve far from his Gaithersburg district in the Davidsonville home of AOL lobbyist Will Castleberry, a Glendening administration veteran. Tickets started at $125.

Del. Kumar Barve

Barve is openly telling people he will run from comptroller if Franchot runs for governor.

Obviously, a lot of people will be disappointed if Franchot decides to stay put. The fundraising dimension of these unannounced candidacies also includes active solicitations from Attorney General Doug Gansler and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

We won’t know how their coffers compare until mid-January, since Maryland law requires only one campaign finance report in off-election years.

The fundraising stops briefly for Christmas, and then cranks up furiously the week following New Year’s Day. Lobbyist Bruce Bereano, who compiles an unofficial social calendar, lists 27 fundraising events for members of the legislature from Jan. 2 through Jan. 10. When the legislature convenes Jan.11, the law requires all state elected officials to cease raising money till after the legislature is over April 9.

Republican Sen. Allan Kittleman is holding two breakfast events five days apart, one in Annapolis on Jan. 4 and another at home in Howard County on Jan. 9. Del. Galen Clagett, who has also said he might run for comptroller, has a $500 a head fundraiser in this period.

Turns out Alexander & Cleaver, the State Circle lobbying firm, also maintains a list of fundraising events, but theirs only lists 16 events after New Year’s, including two Bereano doesn’t list: one for Sen. Bobby Zirkin and another for Gov. Martin O’Malley himself. (O’Malley had once banned Bereano from contact with the administration.)

So one-man-band Bereano’s list, only shared by private e-mail, beats the multi-lobbyist Alexander & Cleaver 27-16. But Bereano, an Internet agnostic, doesn’t have a website, so A&C gets a field goal for transparency. Neither list has the Rosapepe event.

Thanks to Maryland Juice for the heads up on Alexander & Cleaver.

–Len Lazarick

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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