Marilyn Balcombe and Kate Stewart each have the largest campaign bank accounts among the candidates running in their respective County Council races, with just under $134,000 and $97,000, according to the latest campaign finance reports. 

Balcombe is running in District 2 and Stewart is running in District 4. They are among 11 Democrats running in the July primary for Districts 2, 3 and 4.

Council Member Andrew Friedson is running unopposed for reelection in District 1. His district includes Bethesda, most of Chevy Chase and Potomac. 

For the District 2 seat, Balcombe, president/CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, is running against:

  • Lorna Phillips Forde, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large council seat in 2018
  • William Roberts, a former staffer for U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park)

District 2 includes North Potomac, Darnestown, Poolesville, Germantown and Clarksburg. 

District 3 is centered around Rockville and Gaithersburg. Sidney Katz, the incumbent and former mayor of Gaithersburg, is seeking a third term. He faces:

  • Tiquia Bennett, who ran unsuccessfully for District 2 in 2018, but was redistricted into District 3 this year
  • Robert Wu, a Gaithersburg City Council Member

District 4 includes North Bethesda and covers Kensington, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Stewart, Takoma Park’s mayor, is facing:

  • Al Carr, a delegate for the state’s 18th legislative district who decided at the filing deadline in April to drop out of reelection for his current seat
  • Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of White Flint
  • Troy Murtha, a George Washington University law student
  • John Zittrauer, a longtime service industry worker currently working at Denizen’s Brewing Co. in Silver Spring

Some of the candidates are using the county’s public financing system, which allows for donations from individuals to be matched from a public fund, and limits individual donors to $250 per candidate. The total amount that County Council district candidates can receive from the public election fund is $125,000.

Per state law, all candidates were required to submit their latest campaign finance reports by Tuesday at midnight.

District 2

The latest campaign finance reports show that Balcombe currently has $133,745 in the bank, the most of any candidate running in the three districts. Forde currently has $4,979 on hand and Roberts has $2,829. 

Balcombe is using the public financing system and has hit the $125,000 limit for receiving  funds, according to her latest reports. Forde has not requested public election funds. Roberts has not yet been certified to participate as of the latest county report, but he has requested $6,005 in public funds per his latest campaign finance report.

Since May 17, Balcombe has spent $14,976 — mostly on media advertisements, according to her latest report. Forde has spent $13,314 since April 15, on such expenses as direct mailers to voters, fundraising expenses and media advertisements.

Roberts hasn’t spent any funds since May 3, according to his latest report. 

District 3

Katz has $52,843 in the bank and Wu has $46,997 in his war chest, according to their campaign finance reports. Bennett filed an affidavit stating she has neither raised $1,000 nor spent that much in recent months, according to the state Board of Elections.

Wu is using the public campaign financing system, but Katz is not. According to his latest reports, Wu has received $44,984 in public funds. If his recent request for additional funds is honored, that amount will increase to $55,580.

Katz’s report indicates he has spent more than Wu in recent months, much of which has been for campaign staff expenses. Since the beginning of March, he has spent well over $25,000, according to his most recent campaign finance report.

Wu has spent $11,677 since May 17, most of which has paid for printing and campaign materials, per his latest report.  

District 4

Stewart leads all candidates in this race with a bank account of $96,943, according to her latest campaign finance report. Ginsburg has $59,533 on hand and Carr trails with $29,819.

Zittrauer and Murtha each have $1,275 and $737, respectively. 

Stewart and Ginsburg are the only candidates using the public campaign financing system. Stewart has received $99,828 in public funds, and if her most recent request for matching funds is accepted, that amount will increase to $113,800, the latest report shows.

Ginsburg has received $63,486 in public funds, according to the most recent county report. 

Stewart has also outspent Ginsburg since May 17, spending $23,569 to Ginsburg’s $15,826, their reports show. Carr has spent $30,575 since Jan. 13, his latest report from June 14 shows. Zittrauer has spent $2,640 since Jan. 13 and Murtha has spent $865 since April 28, their records show. 

[For more information on candidates for local, state and federal races, check out the Bethesda Beat voters guide.]

The primary election is July 19. Early voting begins July 7. 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 steve.bohnel@bethesdamgazine.com 

Steve Bohnel

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