Ferguson Is Giving Della a Run for His Money
Forty-sixth District Sen. George Della has been representing Baltimoreâ€™s waterfront precincts in Annapolis for many moons, as his father did before him. But in light of the latest campaign-finance reports, due yesterday, it looks like the distinguished, gray-haired senator faces a real challenge from 27-year-old upstart Bill Ferguson, a lawyer with a background as a Baltimore City Public Schools teacher (see City Paperâ€™s 46th District coverage).
Ferguson has raised nearly $90,000 and spent nearly $47,000 on the race so far, leaving him with $42,932.37 in the bank, as of Aug. 10. Dellaâ€™s bank balance is a bit larger–just more than $55,000–but the veteran senator raised only $12,100 and spent about $18,500.
Della also can benefit from a newly formed slate–Democrats for a Better Baltimore–thatâ€™s supporting him and three 46th District delegate candidates (incumbents Brian McHale and Pete Hammen, along with Luke Clippinger). The slate committee, which started with $17,500 anted up by its four candidates, has about $8,300 on hand.
Dellaâ€™s $12,100 in contributions came from two businesses ($1,000 each from Patapsco Market Management and Baltimore Metal Recycling Association); one individual ($400 from photographer Allan Sprecher); 14 Maryland political action committees, or PACs (the largest amount was $2,500 from the Maryland Insurance Council PAC); and one out-of-state PAC, the International Longshoremenâ€™s Association Committee on Political Education, based in New York, which gave $1,000.
Dellaâ€™s showing is decidedly non-grassroots, especially compared to Fergusonâ€™s fundraising. Most of Ferguson’s money–about $83,000 of it–has come from 442 donations (19 from businesses, the rest from individuals), including $4,000 each from Rockville-based developer James Whalen and Jay Lohse, a Baltimore-based real-estate lawyer with Venable LLP. In addition, Ferguson and his wife each gave $4,000 to the campaign. About $67,000, in 321 donations, of Fergusonâ€™s money so far has come from within Maryland, and the rest came from 26 other states from coast to coast.
What’s clear from these data is that there’s an honest-to-goodness Democratic primary for state Senate in the 46th District–a first for Della, who’s been in the Senate since 1983. Of course, Ferguson has to know how to get votes, not just raise and spend money–and Dellas, for about 70 years now, have been very good at getting votes out of these precincts. But it certainly helps create a sense of competition when a challenger banks dough the way Ferguson has.