PUBLIC FUNDING CANDIDATES ARE TOP FUNDRAISERS IN COUNTY COUNCIL AT-LARGE RACE

In the race for the at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council, the County’s new public campaign financing system appears to be fulfilling its promise of eliminating the financial advantage of incumbency as most of the top fundraisers in the race are using the new system, according to the year’s first round of campaign finance disclosures. Thirty-four candidates: 30 Democrats, three Republicans, and one member of the Green Party – are vying for three open at-large seats on the nine-member Council this year. Twenty-two of those new candidates have signed up for public financing, as well as incumbent Hans Riemer, who is running for re-election after his second term as an at-large Council member. Read more on The Sentinel!
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TOWN HALL MEETING ADDRESSES FAIR ELECTIONS BILL FOR COUNTY

FORT WASHINGTON – A more accessible campaign system may be in the future for Prince George’s County. County Councilmembers Mary Lehman, Mel Franklin and Obie Patterson joined members of the Fair Elections Maryland Coalition at a town hall on Dec. 7 to discuss an upcoming council bill that would pass a Fair Elections Act for the county. The bill would enable candidates for county council and county executive who receive small-dollar donations to qualify for limited matching funds if they refuse large contributions and those from corporations, political action committees (PACs) and other non-individuals. Lehman plans to introduce the bill, which she described as her “number one legislative priority in 2018,” during the council’s first week back in January. “It opens up the whole process, encourages grassroots campaigns,” Lehman said.…
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Small Dollars, Big Change: Public Campaign Financing’s Effect On Montgomery County Races

Small Dollars, Big Change: Public Campaign Financing’s Effect On Montgomery County Races

Montgomery County is now offering public funds to candidates running for local office, becoming the first jurisdiction in Maryland — and the Washington region — to do so. Nearly three-quarters of candidates for county council and county executive have applied for public funding. The law encourages them to appeal to a large number of voters for a relatively modest amount of money. Read more on WAMU!
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Small donor matching legislation will be introduced in Prince George’s County Council

Small donor matching legislation will be introduced in Prince George’s County Council

After months of lobbying for campaign finance reform in Prince George's County, some activists said they have enough support from county council members for a bill to create a small-donor matching program. The program would create a system similar to the one already in effect in Montgomery County, which matches donations for candidates for county executive and council if their campaigns meet certain requirements, said Jennifer Dwyer, a legislative and policy coordinator at Progressive Maryland, a nonprofit that advocates for social, economic and racial justice. These initiatives encourage candidates to ask potential constituents for donations — with the smallest contributions matched at the highest rate — and exclude candidates from donation matching if they've accepted contributions that are too large or are from political action committees or other specified groups.…
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First Republican in 2018 MoCo elections earns matching campaign funds

Montgomery County Council District 2 candidate Ed Amatetti is the first Republican among seven approved candidates to earn matching public campaign funds in the 2018 Montgomery County elections. Amatetti will receive $37,190 in matching funds this week from the State Board of Elections, election board spokesman Jared DeMarinis said. Amatetti received 173 contributions to qualify for matching funds, averaging $65 per donation. Glynis Kazanjian reports on Montgomery County races. To date, the state election board, which manages the Montgomery County program, has disbursed $850,000 in matching public campaign funds from an $11 million fund appropriated by the council. Read more on Maryland Reporter!
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MD. CAMPAIGN FINANCE FUND IS ALMOST BROKE

Maryland’s Fair Campaign Finance Fund (FCFF) has lived a long and tumultuous life since its creation in the 1970s, and members of the legislature, along with Gov. Larry Hogan (R), are looking to restore the fund to its former glory. In 2014, Hogan was the first gubernatorial candidate in Maryland history to be elected using public funds through the FCFF. The program provides candidates with state funds if they agree to certain spending limits. Only gubernatorial candidates are eligible to receive public dollars. Read more on Maryland Matters!
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Term limits, public financing, ‘Trump effect’ propel candidates in Montgomery

Term limits, public financing, ‘Trump effect’ propel candidates in Montgomery

As of Sept. 30, 18 at-large candidates had filed a notice of intent to the State Board of Elections to participate in public financing. Dang said another factor that might encourage people to enter the race could be tied to a “snowballing effect.” “If there’s 25, and there could be as many as 40 candidates, then more people start to think, ‘Well, I need a smaller percentage of votes,’ so they jump in,” Dang said. Then there are motivators stemming from beyond Montgomery County, a mostly liberal enclave that has not elected a Republican official in recent memory. Bill Conway, an electricity attorney who is seeking one of the Democratic at-large nominations, said Trump’s election was what “pushed me over to running,” adding that “Trump in the background has shocked…
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