2022 | Elections

Unopposed, County Council member Andrew Friedson leads in cash on hand

Incumbents Glass, Jawando are next behind him

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Montgomery County Council Member Andrew Friedson

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This story was updated at 10:55 p.m. Jan. 31, 2022, to correct the maximum donation that county residents can give to candidates. 

Montgomery County Council Member Andrew Friedson, who is running unopposed for re-election in District 1, has by far the most money on hand of any county candidate, according to the annual financial report that was due to state officials earlier this month.

He has a cash balance of about $479,776, after raising $195,259 in the most recent cycle. 

With five months between now and the primary election, council candidates have begun fundraising efforts in earnest.

Council Members Will Jawando and Evan Glass — two at-large candidates running for re-election, are behind him, but each has less than half in cash balances. Jawando has $150,044 on hand after raising $182,783 since Jan. 14, 2021 (some candidates spend money quickly after they raise it). Glass has $169,382 in his cash balance after raising $4,183 since Dec. 21.

Several at-large candidates — running for four seats that represent the whole county — and district candidates have announced their use of the county’s public finance system. For this analysis, Bethesda Beat did not compare those types of funds, just the money that candidates had on-hand, and the amount they raised in the last campaign cycle in their 2022 annual filing reports.

Friedson and Jawando are not using public financing. Glass is. More than a dozen candidates across at-large seats and district seats have filed to use the public finance system. It’s the second election cycle that it is in use. 

Any candidate entering the public finance system can receive up to $250 apiece from county residents, and be eligible for matching funds if they raised $10,000 from 125 donors as a district council candidate, or $20,000 from 250 donors as an at-large council candidate. 

Bethesda Beat has also sorted candidates based on a new County Council map that the current council approved in December, which increased the number of districts from five to seven. That means the new County Council will have 11 seats, given the four at-large seats.

As of Friday, the state Board of Elections website still has candidates who have filed sorted in the current five-district map. State and local election officials have said that the changes will be implemented in a certain order in to draw new precinct lines, identify any potential new polling places for Election Day and not confuse voters. Alysoun McLaughlin, the county’s acting election director, could not immediately be reached for comment by phone on Friday. 

The busiest race so far is the new District 5, an area that stretches from Four Corners and White Oak north to Burtonsville, and stretches west to part of Leisure World. 

As of Friday, seven Democrats have filed to run for that seat.

Jeremiah Pope, a political fundraiser and chief of staff for Del. Charlotte Crutchfield, has the most cash on hand — $111,253.77 — of any candidate in that race, per the 2022 annual filing report. But several rivals are using public financing and are expecting tens of thousands of dollars from the Public Election Fund after reaching the threshold for matching funds.

Another busy council race is the new District 6 — centered around Wheaton and Glenmont, but also including Forest Glen at the south, most of Aspen Hill to the northeast and some other communities. So far, four Democrats have filed to run. 

Natali Fani-Gonzalez, former vice chair of the county’s Planning Board, leads fundraising in that race with $65,566.20 in her cash balance. She and two other candidates in that district intend to use public financing.

The filing deadline for this year’s election is Feb. 22. The primary elections are scheduled for June 28 and the general election for Nov. 8.

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