Ho­gan’s fundrais­ing drowns out Jeal­ous

MD. GOV­ER­NOR HAS OVER 3-1 AD­VAN­TAGE Demo­crat strug­gles with out­reach, coun­ter­at­tacks

The Washington Post Sunday - - METRO - BY OVETTA WIG­GINS AND ERIN COX

For ev­ery Ben Jeal­ous cam­paign sign that com­muters see on the busy stretch of road­way near the Univer­sity of Mary­land in Col­lege Park, there are a dozen oth­ers herald­ing Gov. Larry Ho­gan’s re­elec­tion bid.

The dis­play along the grassy me­dian re­flects the large money dis­par­ity in Mary­land’s hotly con­tested gu­ber­na­to­rial race, in which Jeal­ous, a Demo­crat run­ning for of­fice for the first time, is try­ing to top­ple Ho­gan, a pop­u­lar Repub­li­can in­cum­bent.

Ho­gan has out­raised Jeal­ous more than 3 to 1, giv­ing the gov­er­nor a dis­tinct up­per hand not just along road­ways, but in vot­ers’ mail­boxes and on their tele­vi­sion screens.

With help from the Repub­li­can Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion — which has in­vested sig­nif­i­cantly more in the race than the Demo­cratic Gov­er­nors As­so­ci­a­tion — Ho­gan has been able to tout his record and de­fine Jeal­ous as “ex­treme,” with min­i­mal re­sponse from Democrats.

Jeal­ous, a former NAACP pres­i­dent who spent the last few years at a so­cially con­scious ven­ture cap­i­tal firm, has strug­gled to in­tro­duce him­self and his agenda to vot­ers.

“There isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a cor­re­la­tion be­tween how much you spend and how much you win, or if you win, but in this case, it’s

such an im­bal­ance that that might ap­ply,” said Melissa Deck­man, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Wash­ing­ton Col­lege on the East­ern Shore.

Ho­gan has raised $19.2 mil­lion this cy­cle, nearly $5 mil­lion of it in the last four months. Ac­cord­ing to the most recent cam­paign fi­nance re­port, he had $3.3 mil­lion cash on hand in late Oc­to­ber — 12 times more than Jeal­ous.

Jeal­ous spent nearly all he had taken in the run-up to the com­pet­i­tive Demo­cratic pri­mary in June. Since then, he raised $2.9 mil­lion; he ended Oc­to­ber with $275,000 to spend.

Ho­gan could com­mis­sion hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in polls, buy bill­boards on the East­ern Shore and in Bal­ti­more City, pur­chase tech­nol­ogy to get out the vote and buy ads in the voter-rich D.C. me­dia mar­ket. Jeal­ous, who trailed Ho­gan by dou­ble dig­its in polls this fall, did not have the same op­tions.

“Those are the choices when you have to run a lean cam­paign: Do you fund an or­ga­nizer who can knock on doors? Or do we in­vest that money in signs?” said Kevin Har­ris, a se­nior Jeal­ous cam­paign ad­viser. “Most times you go with the or­ga­nizer.”

Nei­ther cam­paign would dis­cuss its spend­ing strat­egy in de­tail. But it was clear the money ad­van­tage has helped Ho­gan push his plat­form of tax cuts, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and com­pro­mise with the Demo­crat­ic­con­trolled leg­is­la­ture, while Jeal­ous had fewer op­tions to pro­mote his pro­pos­als, in­clud­ing univer­sal health care, big boosts in ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing and a $15 min­i­mum wage.

The RGA helped Ho­gan frame the de­bate, with a slew of tele­vi­sion ads since early July that de­fine Jeal­ous as a “so­cial­ist” and a tax-and-spend Demo­crat. The on­slaught left Ho­gan’s cam­paign free to fo­cus on pos­i­tive mes­sag­ing.

Be­tween late Au­gust and late Oc­to­ber, the gov­er­nor’s cam­paign spent more than $6.3 mil­lion on paid me­dia, records show, rolling out more than a half-dozen ads tar­get­ing dif­fer­ent de­mo­graph­ics — African Amer­i­cans in Bal­ti­more and white women in Mont­gomery County among them.

“They’re re­ally good ads,” said Mileah Kromer, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor at Goucher Col­lege. “It’s tar­geted in re­ally spe­cific ways, and that’s what money buys.”

The RGA plans to spend $4 mil­lion on the Mary­land race, less than it has pumped into com­pet­i­tive gu­ber­na­to­rial races in Florida ($10 mil­lion) and Ge­or­gia ($5 mil­lion).

The DGA, which is spend­ing $8.5 mil­lion in Florida and $4 mil­lion in Ge­or­gia, has in­vested less than $250,000 in Mary­land.

Vot­ers say they have no­ticed the dif­fer­ence.

“I didn’t get a lot of in­for­ma­tion from Jeal­ous,” said Dou­glas Klay­man, 54, a Demo­crat-lean­ing in­de­pen­dent from Po­tomac who cast a bal­lot for Ho­gan in early vot­ing on Tues­day and said he would have sup­ported the gov­er­nor even if he had heard more from his chal­lenger.

Mar­lene Zen­dell, a Demo­crat from El­li­cott City, said she felt “ig­nored” by the Jeal­ous cam­paign. “I have not re­ceived one let­ter or one phone call from his or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she said. “There are signs for Ho­gan ev­ery­where in Howard County, and not one for Ben Jeal­ous.”

Zen­dell, a life­long Demo­crat, said she voted for Jeal­ous by de­fault, and to ex­press her feel­ing about the cur­rent oc­cu­pant of the White House. “I voted for him be­cause I am a Demo­crat, and I hate Trump,” she said.

Jonathan New­ton, 46, an in­de­pen­dent from Prince Ge­orge’s County, said he re­ceived one mailer from the Jeal­ous cam­paign and did most of his re­search on­line be­fore de­cid­ing to vote for the Demo­crat. Jeal­ous “rep­re­sents the pro­gres­sive val­ues that I want for our state,” he said.

Be­ing be­hind in the money game does not nec­es­sar­ily as­sure de­feat — as Ho­gan’s up­set win in 2014 at­tests.

The state Demo­cratic Party and Demo­cratic nom­i­nee An­thony G. Brown, then the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, spent roughly three times more that cy­cle than Ho­gan and the state GOP, with the Repub­li­can cam­paign re­ly­ing mostly on pub­lic fi­nanc­ing.

While more sup­port from the state Demo­cratic es­tab­lish­ment this cy­cle would have helped, Har­ris said, it most likely would not have lev­eled the play­ing field. Ho­gan raised more money (nearly $2 mil­lion) at a sin­gle 2016 fundrais­ing gala than Jeal­ous raised be­tween Au­gust and Oc­to­ber.

And while Jeal­ous, the DGA and a pro-Jeal­ous su­per PAC have spent $3.3 mil­lion on ads, Ho­gan’s cam­paign alone has spent $7.9 mil­lion on paid me­dia this year.

“With more re­sources, you can tar­get more peo­ple and hit more peo­ple more times,” Har­ris said.

He said part of the cam­paign’s strat­egy is to tar­get “spo­radic” Demo­cratic vot­ers, those who sat out the 2014 elec­tion.

The cam­paign is work­ing closely with the state party on voter turnout and strat­egy, giv­ing $616,500 that helped the state party hire 50 or­ga­niz­ers and open 26 of­fices statewide.

A $1 mil­lion ad from the proJeal­ous su­per PAC Mary­land To­gether We Rise launched in the D.C. me­dia mar­ket at the end of Oc­to­ber and will run through Tues­day.

The su­per PAC is funded by wealthy out-of-state donors, in­clud­ing Freada Klein Ka­por and Mitchell D. Ka­por, close friends of Jeal­ous from Cal­i­for­nia who gave $450,000; ma­jor la­bor unions, in­clud­ing Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tional, which do­nated $200,000; and the Black Eco­nomic Al­liance, a new po­lit­i­cal group fo­cused on boost­ing the eco­nomic for­tunes of African Amer­i­cans, which gave $350,000.

Ho­gan’s $19 mil­lion haul since 2015 is one of the big­gest to­tals amassed by a Mary­land gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date. Brown and the Demo­cratic Party, for ex­am­ple, spent a to­tal of about $18 mil­lion in 2014 — in­clud­ing money that went into a com­pet­i­tive three­way pri­mary race.

The cash im­bal­ance was re­flected in the fi­nal push for vot­ers this week­end.

Ho­gan planned an elab­o­rate party ex­pected to bring sev­eral hun­dred sup­port­ers to a “vic­tory rally” on Kent Island.

The Jeal­ous cam­paign was re­ly­ing on his celebrity friend and sup­porter, co­me­dian Dave Chap­pelle, to help draw crowds to a pa­rade and rally in Bal­ti­more.

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