With less than a week remaining before the primary election, County Council Member Andrew Friedson — running unopposed in the Democratic primary to retain his District 1 seat — has the largest campaign war chest of any council candidate in Districts 1 through 4.
Friedson had previously told Bethesda Beat he was campaigning hard, regardless of whether anyone decided to run against him, and his campaign finance reports appear to show that. He currently has $522,816 in the bank, according to his latest campaign finance report filed with the State Board of Elections by Friday night’s deadline. He spent $3,728 in the filing period, which covered June 8 through July 3.
No Republican has filed to run in District 1, which — under the new County Council map finalized in late 2021 — includes Bethesda, most of Chevy Chase, Potomac, Travilah and other nearby areas.
The races for the seats representing Districts 2, 3, and 4 are competitive in the Democratic primary. In District 2 — which includes Germantown, Clarksburg, North Potomac, Darnestown, Poolesville and other northwestern parts of the county — there are three Democrats running. Council Member Craig Rice, who has held the seat for more than a decade, is term-limited and cannot run again.
Marilyn Balcombe, president/CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, currently has $27,100 in her campaign account. She’s spent nearly $109,000 between June 8 and July 3 in her quest to win the seat, with over $90,000 of that spent on mailers sent to homes throughout District 2. She is also one of two district council candidates to receive $125,000 in public campaign finance funds, the maximum allowed by county law.
Lorna Phillips Forde, president of a local travel service company, and William Roberts, a former staffer for Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) and chair/treasurer of the Montgomery County Renters Alliance, are also running in District 2.
Forde currently has $9,086 in her campaign account, and has spent $7,391 during the reporting period. Over half of her money has been spent on campaign ads and mailers. Roberts is using the county’s public campaign finance system, and received $37,716 in those funds, as of the latest county report on June 30. Between June 21 and July 3, he spent $16,050 and reported $9,223 in his campaign bank account, according to his latest campaign finance report.
In the race for District 3, which covers Rockville and Gaithersburg, incumbent Sidney Katz is seeking a third four-year term. Katz faces Tiquia Bennett, an instructor in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation/automated external defibrillator (CPR-AED) training and certification courses, and Robert Wu, a Gaithersburg City Council member and attorney for Northrop Grumman, a multinational aerospace and defense technology company.
Bennett, in her most recent campaign finance report, filed an affidavit stating that she has neither received nor spent more than $1,000 during the reporting period. Katz, who is not using public campaign financing, has spent more than $30,000 in that time period on campaign ads, along with printing and campaign materials. He’s spent $36,373 in total, and has $37,144 in his bank account.
Wu is using public campaign financing and has received $57,005 in public funds, as of the county’s latest report. In a campaign finance report covering June 21 to July 3 that he filed, he reported spending $1,369 — mostly on ads and campaign staff — and has $28,311 in his campaign account.
The race for District 4 — a new district that stretches from North Bethesda through Kensington, Takoma Park and Silver Spring — features five candidates. They are Al Carr, a state delegate representing District 18; Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the Friends of White Flint; Troy Murtha, a law student at George Washington University; Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart; and John Zittrauer, a bartender at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring.
Stewart and Ginsburg lead the candidates in spending, according to the latest filings. Stewart has spent $72,503 and Ginsburg has spent $53,823, with both spending most of their money on campaign mailers. Stewart also has received $125,000 in public campaign finance funds — the maximum allowed —as of June 30, according to the county. Ginsburg has received $70,094 from the county’s public campaign finance fund.
Carr, who is not participating in public campaign financing, has spent $37,748 in the same time period and has $11,539 in the bank.
The primary election is July 19. Early voting continues through July 14. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org