Donor Base Full Of Well-Known Names Allows Matthews To Take Fundraising Lead

Donor Base Full Of Well-Known Names Allows Matthews To Take Fundraising Lead

Wife of Rep. John Delaney among many prominent names on her latest FEC filing

| Published:

Kathleen Matthews

Aaron Kraut

District 6 Rep. John Delaney, whose seat includes about one-third of Montgomery County, has so far remained neutral in the Democratic primary for the open seat in adjacent District 8. But his wife, April Delaney, has weighed in—contributing $2,700, the maximum allowed, to the campaign of Kathleen Matthews for the 8th District seat.

And April Delaney, an attorney for a media advocacy group, is not the only recent example of a high-profile public office holder in the Washington area—or his or her spouse—ponying up for the Matthews campaign, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission. Virginia Rep. Don Beyer, a former lieutenant governor of that state, kicked in $2,700, as did Lisa Collis—wife of Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who was previously the state’s governor. Dorothy McAuliffe, the spouse of current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, donated $2,000.

They’re all part of a large network of political, business and media contacts in the Washington area and across the country that has been accumulated by Matthews—a former local news anchor and Marriott International executive—and her husband, MSNBC talk show host and former congressional aide Chris Matthews. In the latest filing, the donations from that network enabled Matthews to outdistance her leading rival, state Sen. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park, in fundraising by almost $190,000—$564,000 for Matthews to $375,000 for Raskin—in the three-month period ending Sept. 30. It left Matthews with nearly $892,000 in the bank, as compared to $694,000 in Raskin’s campaign treasury.

In a contest in which the cost estimates for a winning campaign have started at $1 million and gone as high as $3 million to $4 million, Matthews has now raised a total of $1.065 million since announcing her candidacy in early June. With just over six months to go until the April 26 primary, Raskin has taken in a total of $928,000 since entering the race last April.

The latest fundraising news was not as happy for state Del. Kumar Barve of Rockville, who has been widely regarded—along with Matthews and Raskin—as being in the first tier of contenders in the seven-way Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is running for Senate.

Barve raised just over $132,000 during the third quarter of 2015, down from the $225,000 he took in during the previous three months. Since entering the race in March, Barve—seeking to become only the fourth Indian-American ever elected to Congress—has raised less than half of what either Matthews or Raskin has taken in. He now significantly trails both candidates in terms of cash on hand, reporting a little more than $276,000 in his campaign treasury as of Sept. 30.

In fact, Barve was outraised during the third quarter by former Obama administration official William Jawando of Silver Spring, who reported taking in almost $160,000. Jawando, who has been seen as an underdog in the contest since entering in May, is now the only African-American candidate after the withdrawal last month of former Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin. In addition to contacts from his time as an aide to Obama at the White House and earlier on Capitol Hill, Jawando is drawing donations from several prominent figures in the African-American community—including National Urban League President Marc Morial, who gave $1,000, and former NAACP head Ben Jealous, who donated $250.

Barve’s fundraising continues to be heavily dependent on fellow Indian-Americans both locally and across the country: In his latest report, close to 55 percent of individual contributions appeared to come from Indian-American donors.

Matthews’ lead in fundraising rests in part on her continuing ability to draw the maximum contribution allowed by law—$2,700 per election from an individual to any one candidate—from a large group of donors. In her latest report, there were 63 donors who “maxed out” at that amount, accounting for nearly one-third of her total fundraising haul. While a handful of those 63 large contribution donors reside in the 8th District, the overwhelming majority are based in the District of Columbia or around the country, with heavy concentrations of them in New York and Boston and on the West Coast.

From California, Matthews’ list of $2,700 donors includes another congressional spouse— Richard Blum, a wealthy investor who is married to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein—as well as billionaire investor Ronald Burkle and Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google. In fact, Schmidt and his wife gave Matthews a total of almost $11,000—half of it for the primary and the other half for use in the general election, assuming she makes it to next November.

The latest Matthews donor list also includes a current member of the Cabinet, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who gave $1,000, as well as a former Cabinet secretary—William Daley, the commerce secretary in the Clinton administration, who gave the full $2,700. Daley is a former chief of staff to President Obama. Another prominent Obama White House figure, former press secretary Jay Carney—now a top official of Amazon—gave $500. Within the media, former Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth was a $2,700 donor.

At least 10 former members of Congress donated to Matthews, including former Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana and former House Majority Whip Tony Coelho of California, each of whom gave $1,000, and former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, who gave another $1,000 on top of a similar amount he donated earlier this year. The list of congressional alumni includes two Republicans: former Rep. Paul McCloskey of California, who mounted an anti-Vietnam War primary challenge to President Richard Nixon more than 40 years ago, gave $2,700, while former New York GOP Rep. Susan Molinari, now a vice president of Google, donated $1,000.

Raskin, whose wife, Sarah Bloom Raskin, is deputy Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, can claim a couple of prominent Clinton and Obama alumni among his supporters: former Office of Management and Budget Director Alice Rivlin gave $1,000, as did former Obama White House aide Ron Klain, who was also chief of staff to both Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore.

But Raskin’s latest report showed him with just 27 donors who gave the $2,700 maximum— less than half the number claimed by Matthews, and making it difficult for him to keep up with her fundraising pace. In what appeared to be a pre-emptive dig at Matthews on Thursday, prior to the posting of the FEC reports online, Raskin boasted in a press release that “the vast majority” of his money is coming from donors in Maryland, with a majority from within the 8th District.

“We will clearly have the money we need to win, and we have assembled, by far, the most donors, the most political endorsements, and a huge group of dedicated supporters and organizers,” he declared.

At least one local donor, Bethesda businessman and long-time Democratic Party fundraiser Nathan Landow, appears to be hedging his bets. He gave $2,700 apiece to both Matthews and Raskin, and also donated $1,000 to Jawando, after earlier in the year donating $2,700 to Barve.

Despite Barve’s lagging fundraising overall, his pitch to the business community, in which he has emphasized job creation and economic development, appears to be making some inroads. In the latest filing, he attracted donations from several prominent local real estate interests. Howard Bender, president of Blake Construction Co., and Richard Cohen of the Willco Cos. each donated $2,700, while Thomas Bozzuto of the Bozzuto Group donated $1,000.

Barve, who chairs the House Environment and Transportation Committee in the General Assembly, also has received contributions from several prominent Annapolis-based lobbyists. One of the state capital’s highest grossing lobbyists, Gerard Evans, gave Barve $1,000.

Of the three other contenders in the Democratic primary, David Anderson of Potomac—an official of a Washington-based internship and seminar program—reported raising $66,000 since entering the contest in mid-August, and Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Chevy Chase reported taking in $55,000. But their respective reports raised as many questions about the long-term viability of their campaigns as they answered.

Former State Department official Joel Rubin, who filed his candidacy last week, is not required to file a fundraising report until January.

Of the $66,000 that Anderson said he took in, about two-thirds of it came from either contributions or loans to himself, totaling nearly $44,000. He reported having about $48,000 in cash on hand.

Gutierrez, vying to become the first Hispanic-American ever elected to Congress from Maryland, reported having almost $162,000 on hand. But the reports indicate that her campaign is operating largely on loans she has made to herself, totaling nearly $95,000. When she announced, she expressed confidence that she would be able to tap into a nationwide Latino base of donors; while her contributions are coming largely from Hispanic-Americans, it appears that the majority of that money is being raised locally.

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