Montgomery council candidates get money from real estate groups, unions
Frosh has most cash on hand of county's state legislators
In Montgomery County, all Democrats running for an at-large seat on the County Council received contributions from unions or the real estate industry.
Councilman Marc Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park, who has pledged not to take money from developers, received a $1,000 donation from a Maryland real estate group, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.
The reports, which were due Friday, cover the reporting period from the end of August through Oct. 17. The general election is Tuesday.
Elrich's latest report, which shows $7,911 in his account, includes a $2,000 donation from a local police union, and a $4,000 donation from a political action committee based in Washington, D.C., the Mid-Atlantic PAC, that is a coalition of unions.
The largest county government employees union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization, is listed as a top donor for that PAC.
Council President Nancy M. Floreen (D-At large) of Garrett Park received $2,000 from a local police union, $1,000 from a Maryland real estate group called Greater Capital Area PAC and $3,000 from the Mid-Atlantic PAC, according to her campaign finance report. She had $5,328 in her account, the report shows.
Challenger Hans Riemer, who beat Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At large) of North Bethesda in the September primary, received about $8,000 from unions, his report shows. He also received $1,000 from a real estate group. Riemer, of Silver Spring, also loaned himself about $65,000 throughout the campaign season, records show. As of Oct. 17, he had about $5,114 on hand.
Councilman George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park received about $2,000 from a local police union, and $3,000 from the Mid-Atlantic PAC. He had $2,484 on hand.
Among the Republican challengers, only one reported having more than $1,000 in a campaign account. Brandon Rippeon, who has primarily self-financed his campaign, reported $5,171 on hand. He got some support from the real estate community, receiving about $4,000 in donations from real estate groups.
Rippeon loaned himself $45,250 the bulk of which he spent on television advertising.
Like the council candidates, some state legislative candidates in Montgomery County received money from union and real estate groups.
The Service Employees International Union, a labor group that propelled some Democratic challengers around the state to victory in September's primary, supported legislators including Democratic candidates Craig Zucker of Brookeville, Shane Robinson of Montgomery Village and Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Dist. 15) of Rockville.
Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist. 16) of Bethesda received $1,200 from political action committees since the end of August.
The four-term senator has the largest cash balance among Montgomery County legislators, at $98,000, but said his fundraising has slowed in light of the economy.
"People have less disposable income, and most of my contributions are from individuals," Frosh said.
Frosh said he has been more proactive in fundraising than in previous years as part of his effort to succeed Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach as the chamber's longtime president.
"I think I've been more energetic about raising money than I have been in the past because I hope to succeed Mike Miller, but [it's] not clear when he's planning to [give up the position]," Frosh said.
Democratic candidates in the county also generally outpaced their Republican challengers, with only a few GOP candidates having more cash to spend than their opponents in the final week.
In Montgomery County races in districts 14 and 18, which include the eastern and south central parts of the county, Democratic spending overshadowed Republican spending money by at least $20,000.
Incumbent Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. of Kensington (D-Dist. 18), for example, has roughly $21,000 more on hand than Republican Kurt Osuch.
Frosh and other big fundraisers have given heavily to other Democrats in the last period that ended Oct. 17.
Del. Kumar P. Barve (D-Dist. 17) of Gaithersburg directed $76,000 of his money toward a slate designed to fund Democratic House campaigns. Frosh gave $50,000 to a similar group in the Senate.