2022 | Politics

Incumbents in at-large County Council race spending big, campaign finance reports show

Eight Democratic candidates are seeking four seats in July 19 primary

share this

Getty Images

This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. June 15, 2022, to correct the total bank account of Council Member Evan Glass, due to a glitch in the state board of elections filing system, according to a campaign staffer for Glass. It was updated at 3:30 p.m. to correct a reference to the limit Glass would hit if he gets another round of public funds.

With more than $181,000 on hand, County Council Vice President Evan Glass has the largest war chest and has spent more than any of his Democratic competitors for an at-large County Council seat in recent weeks, campaign finance reports show. 

According to the most recent campaign finance report, which was due to the state Board of Elections by midnight Tuesday, Glass currently has a bank account of $181,552.58. Glass is using the county’s public financing system, which was first implemented in 2018. It allows at-large candidates to receive up to $250,000 from a public election fund. Individual donors then give up to $250 contributions to candidates, which receive matching allocations from that public fund.

Of the candidates participating in the public financing system, Glass has received the most money from the county’s Public Election fund, a total of $247,923 so far. If he receives his most recently requested allocation, he will hit the maximum allowed amount of $250,000.

Since May 3, Glass has spent just over $90,000, with nearly half of that going to mailers for households, campaign finance reports show. Glass is facing seven other Democratic competitors for four at-large seats in the Democratic primary.

Council members Will Jawando and Tom Hucker are not participating in the county’s public financing system and are privately fundraising for their reelection bids. Hucker reported that his campaign has $126,517 on hand, according to his campaign’s finance report filed Tuesday. Since Jan. 13, he’s spent $380,405, with over half of that money paying for campaign staff and media advertisements. 

Jawando’s latest campaign finance report shows he has $159,538 in the bank. He’s spent considerably less than Hucker since Jan. 13 — $61,411.32, with almost half of that paying for campaign staff.

County Council President Gabe Albornoz, who also is participating in the county’s public financing system, reported receiving $117,514 in public funds, and has spent $77,572 since April 19, with around half spent on campaign staff and direct mail sent to voters.

There are four challengers to the incumbents for four at-large seats: 

  • Brandy Brooks, who ran for at at-large seat in 2018
  • Dana Gassaway, a former biology teacher and former school board candidate
  • Scott Goldberg, a member of the county’s Democratic Central Committee
  • Laurie-Anne Sayles, a former Gaithersburg City Council Member

Campaign finance reports show Gassaway failed to file by the June 14 deadline, resulting in a $20 fine from the state Board of Elections.

The other three have elected to use the county’s public financing system. Brooks, according to the latest reports, has received $187,085 from the public election fund. If her most recent request for matching funds is honored, she will receive $190,523 in public money. 

Goldberg has received $95,613 in public funds and is requesting an additional $77,427 due to more than $30,000 in eligible donations received from private donors. Sayles has received $103,596 from the public election fund, and if her most recent request is approved, that will rise to $107,195.

As of the most recent reports, Brooks has $20,896 on hand, Goldberg has $79,243 and Sayles has $120,149. Since May 5, Brooks has spent $22,036, mostly on campaign staff and media advertisements.

Goldberg has spent $88,803 since Jan. 13, with over half of that paying for direct mailings to voters. Sayles has spent $3,184 since May 3, with most of that spent on campaign staff.

The primary election is July 19. Early voting begins July 7. Mail-in ballots will be accepted as long as they are postmarked by 8 p.m. July 19 or are dropped into a ballot drop box by that time.

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