Out-of-State Donors Eye Opportunity in 6th District Race


WASHINGTON—As the race in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District heads into its final week, fundraising numbers show the candidates closing in on $5 million raised—a number heavily skewed toward Democratic challenger John Delaney, who has tapped out-of-state donors for more than $1 million.

Records from the Federal Election Commission show Delaney raised more than $250,000 during the first two and a half weeks of October. He has raised more than $3.8 million to date, which includes a loan of more than $1.7 million to the campaign. It also dwarfs Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s fundraising total of $1.1 million.

In Maryland, Delaney has outraised Bartlett, who has represented the 6th District for 20 years, by about $130,000, but about 70 percent of Bartlett’s individual contributions—campaign donations from people, not political action groups, campaigns or party organizations—have come from in-state donors. For Delaney, that number is roughly 30 percent—one of the lowest totals of any Democrat running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland.

“He’s getting money, I guess, from his Wall Street buddies,” Bartlett said. “I don’t have any Wall Street buddies.”

Bartlett’s campaign manager, Ted Dacey, said the congressman’s track record after 10 terms in office explains his support among Maryland donors.

“It's clear that Delaney's own constituents are not buying what he's selling,” Dacey said.

Bartlett has gathered more contributions from Maryland—535 to Delaney’s 487 as of Oct. 25. Delaney still holds a larger fundraising total in the state because his donors tend to give almost twice as much as Bartlett’s, averaging about $1,200.

Delaney’s campaign manager, Justin Schall, said his candidate’s message—and the prospect of flipping a House seat from red to blue—explains his popularity with out-of-state donors.

“I think this is a problem of success,” Schall said. “We could not have run a very competitive race if we had only raised money from people in-state.”

Paul Herrnson, director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, College Park, said Bartlett and Delaney are engaged in two concurrent campaigns: One for voters, the other for resources. He added that the latter, unlike the former, is not restricted to the 6th District.

“People raise the money where they can get it,” Herrnson said. “In the case of an incumbent, there are tremendous advantages to raising money in the state. We are in the Washington, D.C., area, and some of what appears to be state money is probably in some ways Washington money. For a challenger, it’s generally more difficult than an incumbent in an identical situation to make money.”

Delaney’s campaign alone has raised more than what Bartlett and his five past challengers raised between 2000 and 2010, and rounded out his record-breaking two weeks with a $1,000-per-ticket reception in Washington, D.C., with President Bill Clinton on Oct. 16. The campaign raked in another $144,000 from that event.

“There is a possibility (Delaney) can be a fundraising powerhouse,” Herrnson said. “When the challenger is able to bring in a big gun like President Clinton or the party leaders, that signifies to the party establishment that this is going to be a competitive candidate who has good prospects.”

In comparison to Delaney, former Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil raised nearly $9 in every $10 from individual contributions from Maryland donors during his 2008 race in the 1st District against then-state Sen. Andy Harris. Kratovil lost the rematch in 2010.

Herrnson said Kratovil, a former Queen Anne’s County state’s attorney, did not have the same fundraising constituency as Delaney, whose presence in the banking community has enabled him to draw from a national network of donors.

“I think it’s always helpful to link the background and experience to the sources of funds,” Herrnson said.

Bartlett enters the last full week of the campaign with about $110,000 on hand. Delaney has about $170,000.

Capital News Service reporter Caitlin Johnston contributed to this report.

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