Monday, June 11, 2018

Daily Kos exposes MoCo "covert Republican/developer Council slate" in Democratic primary

A cabal of developers and Republicans is spending big to determine the winners of the Democratic primary election in Montgomery County on June 26, according to an investigation published by the Daily Kos. "There is a covert Republican/developer slate for Council," author Eric Hensal writes. He identifies the covert GOP/developer slate as Democrats Gabe Albornoz, Marilyn Balcombe, Evan Glass, Hans Riemer (in the At-Large race), Andrew Friedson (District 1), and Sidney Katz (District 3).

Hensal says these are the "candidates Republican/Developer donors in Montgomery County want elected in its Democratic primary." He also cites David Blair as the covert group's Democratic choice for County Executive, and says campaign donations show developers abandoning Blair's rival Roger Berliner for Blair and Rose Krasnow.

Hensal notes the covert financing effort is a change from 2002's overt developer effort that successfully elected the laughably-named "End Gridlock" slate to the Council. The "End Gridlock" slate infamously went on to double and triple the amount of traffic gridlock, by allowing unlimited development without providing the highway capacity needed to support it.

To reach his conclusions, Hensal examined patterns of donations, and connections among donors contributing to the same candidates. He determined that many of the donors who are supporting the covert slate are also donors to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Hensal also concluded that simply using public financing did not eliminate developer influence on candidates doing so - they still receive donations from developers, and can leverage those developer donations for more public money.

In identifying the covert slate of candidates, Hensal concludes that, "The most generous view is that these candidates are simply a consensus of the Republican/Developer community. However, an ongoing coordinated effort to elect them is very possible."


Baloney Concrete said...

This is some highly specious analysis. Donations to Hogan, the most popular governor in the country, do not necessarily indicate “Republican sympathies.” Cute move, though, trying to link “Republican” and “developer” as if they’re both some kind of boogeyman.

On the other hand, I suppose this is more credible than anything having to do with “cemetery precincts.”

Anonymous said...

"The 'End Gridlock' slate infamously went on to double and triple the amount of traffic gridlock"

They did? How did you quantify that?

Anonymous said...

The Republican part is a stretch. The pattern could also reflect an effort by donors to push money to the people most likely to win.

The analysis is not without credibility, though, and I suspect that if these donors' candidates prevail, we'll get a council that continues to give away density and other valuable assets at bargain prices without addressing the infrastructure needs that come along with development. The pace of development is such that we're facing our last chance to get this close to right.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Ratto June 11, 2018 at 9:45 AM (EastMoCo blog)

“Robert - When I download the data, there are only 108 donations from 10 unique individuals. Is the rest of the data missing or is this graph really only made from 108 data points?”

Robert Dyer June 11, 2018 at 10:02 PM (EastMoCo blog)

“According to the study's author, the data includes all donors who gave at least $100 dollars between January 2016 and May 2018 to two or more candidates from the pool of 6 county executive and 41 council Democratic candidates, plus Republican governor Larry Hogan.”

Dyer, you have failed to explain the discrepancy that Christopher Ratto notes. Do you seriously believe that there are only 10 contributors giving in excess of $100, and only 108 total contributions in excess of $100, in the the gubernatorial election in Maryland and in the Council and County Executive elections in Montgomery County this year?

Robert Dyer said...

10:21: Those are numbers the commenter cited, not me, and they are not in the Daily Kos article. The article made clear exactly what was counted, and that's what I quoted directly from it.

Anonymous said...

Funny for Dyer to smear Hogan and Republicans in general but he's Donald Trump's biggest cheerleader