2016 | Politics

Wealthy Rivals in District 6 Congressional Race Dig into Their Own Pockets in Homestretch

New filing shows Rep. John Delaney making 11th hour donation of $178,000 in bid for re-election

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Amie Hoeber, left, and John Delaney, right

HOEBER CAMPAIGN, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

They are residents of the same affluent neighborhood in Potomac, and, as their often acrimonious race for Congress heads to a finish next Tuesday, Democratic incumbent John Delaney and Republican challenger Amie Hoeber are digging into their own pockets in an effort to ensure victory.

A new filing Wednesday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) shows Delaney funneling nearly $178,000 of his personal fortune into his campaign committee, Friends of John Delaney, less than a week prior to Election Day. In total, Delaney has contributed or lent about $375,000 to his bid for a third term from District 6. The district extends nearly 200 miles from Potomac and Gaithersburg to the western edge of Maryland’s panhandle.

Meanwhile, Hoeber put another $20,000 into her committee, Amie Hoeber for Congress, over the weekend. She has contributed or lent $120,000 to her campaign in October alone. Since announcing her bid for Congress a little over a year ago, Hoeber, a national security consultant, has put $682,000 of her own funds into campaign.

During the final 20 days prior to an election, FEC rules require candidates for office to disclose contributions of more than $1,000—made either by themselves or outside contributors—within 48 hours of receipt.

Delaney, who, according to recent financial disclosure reports, is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with personal assets of at least $115 million, is spending more modestly than he did in his previous two races for Congress. A financial services entrepreneur prior to entering electoral politics in 2012, Delaney spent nearly $2.4 million of his own money in his initial bid for Congress, along with another $900,000 in personal funds two years ago in narrowly defeating Republican challenger Dan Bongino.

Notwithstanding his close call in 2014, Delaney heads into Election Day as the favorite, owing to what is expected to be a heavy voter turnout in a presidential year in a predominantly Democratic state. One Washington-based independent political handicapper, the Cook Political Report, rates the 6th District seat as “likely Democratic” this year. Another, the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, rates the district as safely Democratic.

Nonetheless, Delaney’s opening his wallet again this year seems to indicate that he is taking no chances, perhaps because of his narrow victory in the 2014 off-year election and because of chatter in political circles that he needs a comfortable win next week to preserve his future political options. There continues to be speculation about Delaney as a possible candidate for governor in 2018, despite comments he made late this past summer that he has “no plans” to seek the governorship.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, riding high in public opinion polls, has both endorsed and raised money for Hoeber, while taking public shots at Delaney’s representation of the 6th District. In addition, political operative Steve Crim, who helped to engineer Hogan’s upset victory in the 2014 gubernatorial election, has shown up on the payroll of Maryland USA, a so-called “Super PAC” that was formed last year to push for Hoeber’s election.

Maryland USA has been almost entirely funded by $3.8 million in donations from Hoeber’s husband, Mark Epstein, a telecommunications executive. Together, Epstein and Hoeber have put nearly $4.5 million of their own money in an effort to send Hoeber, a onetime deputy undersecretary of the Army in the Reagan administration, to Capitol Hill.

The latest available filings indicate Hoeber has received about $360,000 in outside donations to her campaign.  Nearly $272,000 of the outside donations came from individuals, with the remaining $88,000 coming from political action committees and other outside organizations.

By comparison, Delaney, while using about $375,000 of his own money, has had the advantage of incumbency in fundraising. He has raised nearly $1.56 million in outside contributions during the 2016 campaign cycle. Approximately $910,000 of that is from individuals, with another $650,000 coming from PACs and other political committees.