Rep. Constance Morella, R-Bethesda, and her Democratic challenger Terry Lierman have been looking for all the help they can get in their fight to represent Montgomery County in Congress, even if it means going outside the state.
More than one-third of the individual donations to their campaigns — 37 percent of Morella’s individual donations and 39 percent of Lierman’s — have come from out-of-state donors, according to campaign finance reports.
Both camps stress the positives of the out-of-state money, saying the donations are an indication of their candidate’s prominence outside the state.
Lierman is “a major player and advocate of national issues. His ideas transcend Montgomery County,” said Derek Walker, Lierman’s campaign manager.
Likewise, Morella’s campaign manager, P.J. Hogan, said the “real reason for growing out-of-state contributions is because [she] is becoming more prominent nationally.”
Federal Election Commission filings show that Lierman has raised a total of $517,605 since January 1999, and $308,003 of that has been donations from individuals. Of those individual contributions, 39 percent have come from out of state.
Morella has raised a total of $692,052, of which $388,112 was in individual donations, 37 percent of which came from out of state.
Most of the out-of-state money to both campaigns comes from Virginia and Washington, D.C. Candice J. Nelson, director of American University’s Campaign Management Institute, said it is not unusual for an incumbent like Morella to be raising money from out of state. She said Morella is likely riding on her popularity as an independent Republican with a moderate-to-liberal voting record.
“She’s become more established,” Nelson said. It’s easier for her to raise money in her position of influence.”
That influence includes her House committee memberships and her position as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.
It is less common for a first-time candidate like Lierman to be raising money out of state, Nelson said. But the fact that Maryland is a small state may be a factor that forces candidates to look beyond the border.
Nelson predicted that out-of-state fund raising will continue to be a factor in congressional races.
“The more expensive campaigns get, the more they’ll be looking outside for help,” she said.