2022 | Elections

UPDATED: County executive candidate finance reports show different approaches to fundraising efforts

Blair, Hucker rely on private sources; Elrich, Riemer use public financing system

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Closewise, from top left: Hans Riemer, Marc Elrich, David Blair, Tom Hucker

Submitted photos

This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Jan. 21, 2022, to reflect an amended filing by David Blair.

New campaign finance reports paint a clearer picture of how four county executive candidates are currently fundraising — two using the county’s public financing system and two raising money privately, although one was unsure whether he would use public funds.

Marc Elrich, the incumbent, and Hans Riemer, an at-large council member challenging Elrich in a Democratic primary, are using public financing. Under that system, county executive candidates can receive up to $150 from county residents and receive matching funds if they raise $40,000 from 500 donors. 

County Council Member Tom Hucker and businessman David Blair — the other two candidates filed to run in a Democratic primary for executive — are currently running on private donations.

Under the law, candidates must reach that benchmark in both the primary and general elections.

Wednesday was the deadline for the latest filing for campaign committees, covering January 2021 to January 2022.

According to state campaign finance records, Elrich currently has a little more than $71,500 in funds. Since last year, he’s raised a little more than $102,400 in donations, and has asked for almost $334,000 in matching funds.

Riemer, the other candidate using public financing, has characterized himself in campaign videos as running a grassroots campaign. State campaign finance records show he currently has a little more than $310,000 on hand. He’s raised a little more than $292,000 from the public financing program, and has requested a little less than $63,700 more, according to the annual report.

Blair, the multimillionaire businessman who is raising funds privately, currently has about $348,000 on hand, his latest report shows. His campaign filed an amended report on Friday after filing an initial report.

Blair has loaned himself around $1.1 million to finance campaign spending. When he ran for county executive in 2018, he spent more than $5 million of his own money.

Hucker has said he would consider public financing, but there are negatives in that type of system, including drawing campaign funds away from other areas of county government, like first responders. Campaign finance reports show he currently has a little more than $252,500.

In a text message Thursday evening, Hucker wrote he was not sure about whether he would use public financing, adding it “depends on the trajectory” of the race. 

Devin Battley, a retired motorcycle shop owner from Gaithersburg, has not yet filed, but said he’s interested in the seat. State records show he has not raised any money, but filed his intent to use public financing. 

The filing deadline to run in this year’s elections is Feb. 22. The primary election is set for June 28, and the general election for Nov. 8.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com