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Poffenberger, Parrott filling 2B campaign coffers

August 21, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • A race for an open Subdistrict 2B state delegate seat has generated about $150,000 in contributions among three candidates, topping the fundraising efforts in Washington County's four other delegate races.
Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

Campaign money is flowing into South County.

A race for an open Subdistrict 2B state delegate seat has generated about $150,000 in contributions among three candidates, topping the fundraising efforts in Washington County's four other delegate races.

Most has gone to Democrat Brien J. Poffenberger and Republican Neil C. Parrott. Republican Ted Brennan, a late entry in the 2B race, has a small share.

In the last seven months, the three candidates took in about $90,000 total, campaign filings show.

By comparison, three Subdistrict 2A delegate candidates, including an incumbent, took in about $6,800 combined in the same period. The state board of elections hadn't posted the fourth 2A candidate's report as of Friday, but it isn't likely to boost the total much.

In 2B, which runs east and south of Hagerstown, Brennan and Parrott will compete in a Sept. 14 primary. The winner will face Poffenberger on Nov. 2.

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Parrott formed a fundraising committee in June 2009 and Poffenberger began his three months later.

Combined, they've taken in about $140,000 -- the majority by Poffenberger, who said he's exactly where he hoped to be in fundraising.

Parrott said he's exceeding his goals. He also figured Poffenberger, with connections to Gov. Martin O'Malley and U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, would have raised much more by now.

Brennan didn't start raising money until this spring.

He said he's not concerned what other candidates are doing.

"When you're running sprints, you don't look side to side," he said.

During the Jan. 14 to Aug. 10 filing period, Poffenberger took in close to $50,000 and spent about $20,000, leaving about $55,000 in cash.

Parrott received about $31,000 and spent nearly $16,000, leaving around $34,000.

Brennan's campaign took in a little less than $10,000 and spent half, for a balance of about $4,900.

The largest single contribution this filing period was $2,000, by Power Marketing & Advertising of Hagerstown, which is owned by Brian Flook.

He gave the money to Parrott, a fellow Republican.

Flook, nearing the end of his term as chairman of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's board, said Friday he knew he'd be asked about his contribution because Poffenberger is on leave as the Chamber's president.

Flook, a Subdistrict 2B resident, said he tried to refrain from taking a position as long as he could.

"My support of Neil isn't designed to be a vote again Brien," he said. "We've always gotten along. He's just not my pick."

Flook said he thinks Parrott, as a business owner, can represent him well.

"As a constituent and a Chamber leader," he said, "I think business is very important, and, historically, present and past, the Democratic Party does not work in favor of business."

Poffenberger said he and Flook haven't talked about the race.

Poffenberger guessed that four or five people said they would like to back him, but he's in the wrong party. Most supporters, he said, are people he knows professionally or through community interests, of both parties.

During the last filing period, Parrott had 613 contributions, Poffenberger had 472 and Brennan had 25.

Parrott's filing shows many small amounts, $10 or less, which he called a sign of the breadth of his support.

Poffenberger has many more contributions in the $250 and $500 range. He said he thought fundraising events would carry his campaign, but he's learned that individual contact does more.

Most of Brennan's contributions have been from family and friends, plus $200 from the political action committee of Occidental Petroleum Corp., an oil and gas company.

He said American politics requires money, "but I'm not a free spender -- never was."

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