2021 | Politics

Second public financing report due by week’s end

So far, three candidates certified to use county’s election fund

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By week’s end, the next snapshot is expected of county executive and County Council candidates who have qualified for public campaign financing.

So far, three candidates have been certified to use the county’s public election fund, which started up during the 2018 election cycle. Maurice Valentine, the liaison to that fund in the county’s Office of Consumer Protection, wrote in an email that the county’s Finance Department should have a new report finalized by the end of this week.

The first report included information through July 31. According to the county’s webpage on public campaign financing, the most recent reporting deadline was Sept. 7. Valentine said that the upcoming report should include funding information through August.

At-large council candidates Evan Glass and Brandy Brooks and District 2 council candidate Marliyn Balcombe — all Democrats — have been certified to use the county’s public fund for next year’s elections. 

A dozen other Democrats who are running or potential candidates have filed their intent to use public campaign financing. As of Tuesday afternoon, none of them had been certified, state campaign finance records show.

They include County Executive Marc Elrich and one of his challengers, at-large Council Member Hans Riemer. Devin Battley, a former motorcycle shop owner in Gaithersburg, also has filed his intent to run for county executive, and previously told Bethesda Beat he will make a final decision whether to run by mid-September. 

In the at-large race, Glass and Brooks are joined by incumbent Gabe Albornoz and challengers Kristin Mink and Laurie-Anne Sayles.

Scott Goldberg, who sits on the county’s Democratic Central Committee, also filed his intent to use the public system for an at-large candidacy. In a previous interview, he said he would decide by late September whether he’s running.

Besides Balcombe, at least five others have committed or are considering candidacies in district seats on the council. That includes Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Maricé Morales and Omar Lazo, who all have filed for County Council District 4, which includes Laytonsville, Olney, Glenmont and Wheaton. 

Fatmata Barrie, who is running for County Council District 5, also has also filed her intent to use public financing. That district includes Silver Spring, Takoma Park, White Oak, Fairland and Burtonsville.

Brian Anleu, the chief of staff to the Montgomery County Planning Board, has also filed his intent. He previously told Bethesda Beat that he’s considering a run for a council district seat, but is waiting on whether Council President Tom Hucker gets into the county executive race and how districts might be redrawn.

The donation cap for individual donors in the public financing system is $250. Candidates must meet the following benchmarks to be certified and receive matching funds: 

  • $10,000 from 125 donors as a district County Council candidate
  • $20,000 from 250 donors as an at-large County Council candidate
  • $40,000 from 500 donors as an executive candidate

District races could be further complicated by how districts are redrawn. Last November, voters approved a measure expanding the County Council from nine seats to 11. There will be seven seats by district, up from five. There are also four at-large seats.

A redistricting committee is working on new district boundaries to reflect the two new council districts and the latest census population figures.

The filing deadline is Feb. 22. The 2022 primary election will be on June 28 and the general election on Nov. 8.

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