Ho­gan gets help from for­mer O’Mal­ley donors, records show

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By CHRIS CIOFFI Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice

AN­NAPO­LIS — Hun­dreds of donors that con­trib­uted to Demo­crat Martin O’Mal­ley between 2007 and 2011 are fi­nan­cially back­ing Repub­li­can Larry Ho­gan as he seeks a sec­ond term as Mary­land’s gover­nor, ac­cord­ing to a Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice anal­y­sis of cam­paign fi­nance records.

Donors now fa­vor­ing Ho­gan af­ter back­ing a Demo­cratic gover­nor may be one of sev­eral signs that not only Repub­li­cans, but also some Democrats, could cast bal­lots for Ho­gan in No­vem­ber. Ho­gan has held a dou­ble-digit lead in sev­eral polls, in­clud­ing Wed­nes­day’s Goucher Poll that put him ahead of Demo­cratic op­po­nent Ben Jeal­ous by 22 points.

“There are Democrats that aren’t com­fort­able with Jeal­ous and are more com­fort­able with Ho­gan, and this speaks to that. It’s not just of­fice hold­ers — it’s donors as well,” said Todd Eberly, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci-

ence at St. Mary’s Col­lege of Mary­land.

The Goucher poll found that more than half of regis­tered Democrats and nearly three-quar­ters of regis­tered in­de­pen­dents sur­veyed ap­proved of Ho­gan’s job per­for­mance.

A ma­jor­ity of polled Mary­lan­ders also said they sup­ported po­si­tions gen­er­ally found in Demo­cratic plat­forms. They dis­ap­proved of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s per­for­mance and sup­ported poli­cies like the Af­ford­able Care Act, a $15-per-hour min­i­mum wage and le­gal­iza­tion of recre­ational mar­i­juana.

Over­all, Ho­gan has raised more than 10 times what his Demo­cratic coun­ter­part has raised. Au­gust fil­ings with the Mary­land Board of Elec­tions showed that Jeal­ous had less than $300,000 in the bank, and Ho­gan had roughly $8 mil­lion in cash on hand.

Those poll num­bers could in­di­cate Jeal­ous isn’t be­ing heard by vot­ers, said John Dedie, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at the Com­mu­nity Col­lege of Bal­ti­more County.

“The prob­lem is [Jeal­ous] hasn’t got­ten his mes­sage out and part of the rea­son he hasn’t got­ten his mes­sage out is poor fundrais­ing,” Dedie said.

Ho­gan has spent more than $1 mil­lion on ad­ver­tis­ing since June, ac­cord­ing to cam­paign fi­nance doc­u­ments. Jeal­ous spent about $130,000 on ads dur­ing the pri­mary, but since then he has spent very lit­tle on ads, doc­u­ments filed in late Au­gust showed.

The Jeal­ous cam­paign re­ceived nearly half its cash between June 11 and Aug. 28 from donors that didn’t live in Mary­land, elec­tions data showed. About 80 per­cent of Ho­gan’s funds came from Mary­land donors.

Jeal­ous has touted pro­gres­sive agenda items in his bid for the gover­nor’s man­sion, pro­mot­ing plans like health care for all, crim­i­nal jus­tice re­form, rais­ing teacher salaries and cut­ting the sales tax.

Regis­tered Democrats out­num­ber Repub­li­cans by 2-1 in Mary­land, and the Jeal­ous cam­paign hopes its themes will turn out pro­gres­sive vot­ers in droves. But moder­ate Democrats and un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers may be turned off by the agenda, Eberly said.

“If you are a more con­ser­va­tive Demo­crat, I don’t know how much you would em­brace the idea of re­duc­ing the prison pop­u­la­tion or a sin­gle-payer health­care sys­tem,” Eberly said.

A Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice anal­y­sis iden­ti­fied at least 360 peo­ple who gave to O’Mal­ley and then do­nated more than $600,000 in to­tal to Ho­gan’s cam­paign between De­cem­ber of 2014 and Au­gust of 2018. The anal­y­sis found at least 74 peo­ple who gave to O’Mal­ley and then con­trib­uted about $50,000 in to­tal to Jeal­ous since his cam­paign launched.

How data is col­lected by the state means it’s pos­si­ble that there are more O’Mal­ley donors who gave to Jeal­ous and Ho­gan but did not show up in the CNS anal­y­sis.

Asked for com­ment, Ho­gan’s cam­paign spokesman Scott Sloof­man said: “Just like count­less other Democrats who are sup­port­ing Gover­nor Ho­gan, even ar­dent Martin O’Mal­ley sup­port­ers and donors, have come to the con­clu­sion that Ben Jeal­ous’ plans are too ex­treme for our state.”

The Jeal­ous cam­paign de­clined to com­ment for this story, but it com­mented on the Goucher re­sults vow­ing to stick to its mes­sage and ar­gu­ing that the poll un­der­es­ti­mates voter turnout.

Kevin Har­ris, se­nior ad­vi­sor to the Ben Jeal­ous cam­paign, said in a state­ment that some vot­ers are still un­de­cided, and pointed out that Ho­gan was also down in polls be­fore Elec­tion Day.

A quar­ter of the peo­ple sur­veyed told Goucher they could still change their minds.

“In the next seven weeks, we will win over the vot­ers we need for vic­tory by com­mu­ni­cat­ing that win­ning mes­sage through Elec­tion Day,” Har­ris said, not­ing that fu­ture spend­ing on ad­ver­tis­ing could turn the tide in Jeal­ous’ fa­vor.

For­mer Bal­ti­more County Demo­cratic Del­e­gate Richard Rynd said he sup­ports the Repub­li­can be­cause Ho­gan’s poli­cies are more re­al­is­tic and af­ford­able than those ad­vo­cated by Jeal­ous.

Rynd, 87, gave a to­tal of $800 to the Ho­gan cam­paign and $1200 to O’Mal­ley, fil­ings show.

“I think it’s very ad­mirable that he wants to do all those nice things, and we all want to do them,” he said. “But can we af­ford them?”

Rynd sup­ported O’Mal­ley dur­ing his first run for gover­nor, but said he soured on the Demo­crat dur­ing his re-elec­tion bid.

“He raised taxes to the point where it was no longer ap­pre­ci­ated by the pop­u­la­tion in the state of Mary­land,” Rynd said.

For­mer Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jim Simp­son, 87, do­nated $4,000 to O’Mal­ley’s cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to Board of Elec­tions data.

The Demo­crat said the dona­tion was a fa­vor to a friend fundrais­ing for O’Mal­ley, but Simp­son didn’t vote for him. The Demo­crat also gave Ho­gan $1,250, and con­tin­ues to sup­port the Repub­li­can.

“He’s done one heck of a job,” Simp­son said.

Ho­gan has pub­li­cized Simp­son, Rynd and a group of other mostly male and white law­mak­ers as part of a strat­egy to woo Democrats.

“They’re send­ing a mes­sage that it’s OK for a Demo­crat to vote for Ho­gan,” Eberly said.

The Repub­li­can can­di­date for the 6th Con­gres­sional District, Amie Hoe­ber, and her hus­band Mark Ep­stein both gave $500 to Martin O’Mal­ley in 2010. The cou­ple do­nated more than $5,000 to Ho­gan. Ep­stein has poured mil­lions of dol­lars into sup­port­ing his wife’s bid for Congress.

The can­di­date said she gave to O’Mal­ley at a func­tion hosted by a neigh­bor with­out any in­tent of sup­port­ing the Demo­crat, or any Democrats.

“The last time I sup­ported a Demo­crat was 1972,” she said. “I’m a Rea­gan Repub­li­can.”

Some Democrats run­ning for of­fice have tried to dis­tance them­selves from Jeal­ous.

Bal­ti­more County Sen. Kathy Klaus­meier was crit­i­cized by her op­po­nent, Repub­li­can Chris­tian Miele, af­ter a mailer sent by the Mary­land Demo­cratic State Cau­cus Com­mit­tee im­plied that she was en­dorsed by Ho­gan, Fox5 re­ported.

An­other Demo­crat, Jim Mathias, dis­tanced him­self from Jeal­ous, and touted his re­la­tion­ship with Ho­gan, Ocean City To­day re­ported.

Ho­gan ran for his first term against Lt. Gov. An­thony Brown us­ing pub­lic funds. That meant Ho­gan re­ceived $2.6 mil­lion from a fund fi­nanced by tax­pay­ers that con­tribute vol­un­tar­ily as part of state in­come taxes.

The Repub­li­can lagged in polls be­fore Elec­tion Day and ran a lean cam­paign com­pared to Brown, who spent nearly $9 mil­lion in the pri­mary alone, ac­cord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Ho­gan raised over $1 mil­lion af­ter be­ing in of­fice for only two months. At least 60 of those do­na­tions came from peo­ple who had also given to O’Mal­ley, elec­tions data showed.

By the end of his first year as gover­nor, Ho­gan raised more than $2.8 mil­lion, data showed. Some of those do­na­tions un­doubt­edly were in­tended to make a good im­pres­sion with the new gover­nor, and hope to make that good will con­tinue, Dedie said.

Un­less Jeal­ous can mo­ti­vate the base of pro­gres­sives he’s count­ing on for a vic­tory, his win­dow for vic­tory is con­tin­u­ing to nar­row, Dedie said.

“Do you want to give a guy a thou­sand dol­lars that’s not go­ing to win?” Dedie said. “Peo­ple will back a win­ner.”

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