Terry Lierman, the Democratic challenger for Congress from Maryland’s 8th District, has narrowed the fund-raising gap with incumbent Rep. Constance Morella, R-Bethesda, according to the latest Federal Elections Commission filings.
The FEC reported that, as of June 30, Lierman had raised a total of $517,605, compared to Morella’s $692,052. FEC filings also show that Lierman raised $105,641 during the second quarter of this year, bringing his fund- raising total for the year to $405,896.
But while his fund raising has been what one political analyst called quite impressive, Morella still holds an important edge: She has spent half as much as Lierman has this year, leaving her with $675,282 in the bank to the challenger’s $96,767.
“I think we’re on target,” said Mary Ann Estey, Morella’s campaign coordinator. “We’re just pleased with the tremendous interest and tremendous support.”
Morella will raise money as she feels that she needs to, depending on the status of the challenger that she faces, said Paul Herrnson, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland College Park.
“Connie Morella, like most incumbents, raises money in response to the threat she faces,” said Herrnson. “Incumbents have tremendous advantages in fund raising because they’re expected to win. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Still, Herrnson said, Lierman is “doing quite well for raising money for a challenger in what’s perceived to be a one-sided race.” Herrnson said he calls the race one-sided because Morella has consistently defeated her opponents by relatively comfortable margins in her campaigns in the 8th District.
But Lierman’s campaign manager said he feels good about the money the Democrat has raised so far. Derek Walker also said that the FEC filings do not represent all of Lierman’s fund raising — a late-July fund raiser at the National Museum of Women in the Arts brought another $150,000 into the campaign, Walker said.
Walker said Lierman is confident in his fund raising for the race. He added that the candidate is committed to winning the seat back for the Democratic party.
“One dollar is not one vote,” Walker said. “We feel like we have a great grass-roots movement, a broad base of support. The bottom line is how many votes you have and not how much money in the bank.”
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, PAC money accounts for 9.7 percent of Lierman’s total, or $50,275, while it makes up 41.6 percent, or $287,875, of Morella’s war chest.
Herrnson noted that incumbents “have tremendous advantages in PAC fund raising as well,” since they have more power by virtue of their incumbency, and PACs take advantage of that. “Incumbents can always raise lots of PAC money and challengers can’t always,” he said.
But Estey said that Morella has so far been able to strike a balance between PAC funds and contributions from individuals. She said Morella has “support from across the board and a good balance between PAC and individual contributions.”
“We’re very pleased,” said P.J. Hogan. Morella’s campaign manager. “Connie has a tremendous amount of support from within the 8th Congressional District and Maryland.”