Thompson racks up most contributions in four races for county commissioner
With election day around the corner, St. Mary’s County commissioner candidates reported a range of fundraising and spending in their final campaign finance reports before the general election, with two Democratic candidates outraising their opponents.
From Aug. 22 to Oct. 21, the latest campaign finance reporting period, J. Howard Thompson, the Democratic candidate running for commissioner president, raked in $20,505 in contributions, which included $17,128 in direct donations and $3,375 in total from the county’s Democratic central committee, Roberta Loker’s campaign and the Realtors Political Action Committee. With the most total donors of the candidates, Thompson more than doubled his contributions from the last reporting cycle ending in August.
Thompson attributes the jump in donations in part to “a really good fundraiser” at Bowles Farm in August, but added, “I guess I’m just very fortunate. I’ve talked to a lot of people and they’ve contributed generously … I’m lucky enough they believe in me and want to help.”
Thompson also outspent the other candidates, with expenditures totaling $12,608, mostly on printed campaign materials and fundraising expenses. Thompson is ending the reporting period with $15,475 in campaign cash, more than the other commissioner candidates.
Without giving up his “trade secrets,” Thompson said he was following the advice of former county commissioners and other successful candidates who told him to “hold off ‘til the end. You want your biggest bang at the end. That’s what you want people to remember: who and what you’re running for, and why you’re running,” he said.
Thompson’s largest donations include $1,727 from Dale Rausch, a Leonardtown resident; $1,480 from DuWayne Potter of Leonardtown; $1,000 from BERC Inc. in Great Mills; $1,000 from Tom Hodges; a total of $828 from Hollywood resident Sean Coogan; $850 from former Republican county commissioner Shelby Guazzo; a total of $750 from Paul Parish of Valley Lee; and $600 from Belinda Phillips in Clements.
Thompson ended the period with $15,475 in the bank.
Thompson’s opponent, incumbent Commissioner President Randy Guy (R), again filed an affidavit, indicating he did not intend to receive or spend more than $1,000 over the reporting period.
“I guess he just wants to keep it simple,” Thompson said about Guy’s affidavit.
Guy, who has not raised or spent over $1,000 over the course of his campaign, said he is ramping up campaign expenses in the last few weeks leading up to the election. “My theory is that people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to advertising until about a week or two before the election,” Guy said.
Guy is using campaign materials left over from his 2014 bid, he said. He noted that in 2014, his opponent, incumbent Jack Russell (D), lost after spending “three times as much as I did,” he said. “It’s just the people’s choice.”
Rose Frederick, the Democrat vying for incumbent Commissioner Mike Hewitt’s seat, received $14,393 in contributions, compared to Hewitt’s contributions that total $6,210, including $1,590 in direct contributions, $1,000 from the Realtors Political Action Committee and $3,620 from ticket purchases.
During the last campaign finance period in August, Hewitt (R) easily raked in the most contributions with $25,385, which includes direct donations and $21,200 in ticket purchases.
In this cycle, Hewitt received $2,500 from S. Hunt Aero LLC, an aircraft maintenance service; $500 from Laurel Creek LLC; and $100 from St. Clair Enterprises. Hewitt is ending the period with $11,989 of on hand cash, compared to Frederick’s bank balance of $6,376.
Hewitt spent $11,346 over the course of the reporting period, including $5,950 on media advertising, $3,966 on fundraising expenses and $1,036 on printing. Frederick racked up $9,566 in expenditures, spending $3,942 on me- dia advertising, $3,382 on printed campaign materials and $2,050 on fundraising expenses.
Frederick received donations from Washington resident William Clayton, who donated $2,176; Hollwood resident Harold Herndon, who gave $500; John Alonzo Gaskin, a member of the St. Mary’s County NAACP, who gave $480; Guazzo, who donated $300; JMDJ
LLC, which gave $250;
Henry Jackson of Hollywood, who donated
$320; Minority Outreach Coalition of St. Mary’s County, which gave $260; $85 from Democrat commissioner candidate Timothy Ridgell; $70 from Democrat sheriff’s candidate Ted Belleavoine; and $250 from John Wood of Mechanicsville.
Unaffiliated candidate Clarke Guy brought in $9,770 in contributions and $3,725 in ticket purchases, ending the period with $3,589. He is running against incumbent Commissioner John O’Connor (R).
Guy received direct donations from Leonardtown Mayor Dan Burris in the amount of $100 and brought in a total of $1,000 from Great Mills Trading Post, $800 from Guazzo, $500 from Riverside LLC in Leonardtown and $500 from Windward Land Development of Great Mills.
Guy spent $3,786 on printed materials, $1,887 on media advertising and $2,165 on various expenditures, which include silent auction items and catering for fundraisers.
O’Connor ended the filing period with $3,919 in the bank, after bringing in $7,295 in contributions. He received $5,000 from Great Mills Trading Post, $500 from Vale Rugby LLC, $500 from Joseph Knott and $500 from the Realtors Political Action Committee.
O’Connor used campaign money to reimburse himself for field expenses and signage, and spent a total of $4,202. He is ending the period with $10,075 in outstanding obligations to himself and $6,004 to dbF a Media Company, a video production group in La Plata.
Ridgell, Democratic candidate for the District 1 commissioner seat, brought in $3,310 in contributions and ticket sales since the reporting period began, and spent $7,002, including $2,412 on media advertising and $3,073 on printed advertising items.
Some of Ridgell’s notable donations include $100 from former delegate John Bohanan, $100 from former deputy director of the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development Robin Finnacom, $900 from John Cullison of Lexington Park, $400 from Last Dollar Properties in Great Mills, $150 from Olde Towne Insurance and $350 from D2 Affordable Development in Tall Timbers.
Ridgell’s Republican opponent, Eric Colvin, saw a large increase in campaign donations compared to previous reports, raking in $4,325.
Colvin chose not to solicit contributions throughout his campaign. After spending $4,203, including $2,978 for a mailing service and $819 on printing, Colvin ended the period with $745 in the bank.
Colvin received the most donations from family members, including $1,500 from Camille Colvin, but also received donations from the Maryland State Education Association in the amount of $250, and $1,000 from Realtors Political Action Committee.
Roy Alvey, the unaffiliated opponent of Colvin and Ridgell, did not report any contributions this filing period. Alvey spent $2,892 on media advertisements, and is ending the period with $863 in the bank and $6,000 in two outstanding loans to himself.