HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — D. Bruce Poole, a Hagerstown attorney and former Democratic majority leader in the Maryland General Assembly, is leading a statewide fundraising effort to help Democrats get elected to the House of Delegates.
“The purpose of it is to elect Democrats to the House of Delegates in the general election campaign,” Poole said.
The Maryland House Democratic Caucus Campaign Committee aims to help candidates in contested races in “purple” or “red” districts with high Republican Party registration.
“We are looking at about 40 races in the house,” Poole said.
The House has a total of 141 seats.
House Speaker Michael. E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, called Poole last fall and asked him if he would head the committee.
Poole agreed and is now leading the group that consists of most committee chairmen and women in the House and leaders from the House Democratic Caucus.
“What they want me to do is to go out and raise money,” Poole said. “Really, you can spend a tremendous amount of time on all sorts of things that just are not going to affect whether you win or lose. It is important to boil it down and get to the point.”
The committee had a bank balance of $45,941 as of June 8, according to campaign finance reports filed this month.
“My guess is that by the time this is over we will be probably raise $600,000 or $700,000,” Poole said.
The delegates in the “middle” politically decide where the state is headed in terms of policy, according to Poole.
“This tends to be a lot of times where the new leadership is going to come from,” because Democrats who get elected in the tougher races tend to shine in Annapolis, Poole said.
The committee will also be active in local races to elect delegates.
“Here, locally, of course, John Donoghue is facing a tough challenge,” he said.
Donoghue, a Democratic incumbent seeking re-election to the House, faces Republican Brett Wilson in the November elections.
“He has a stiff challenge from Brett Wilson, because he is a hard worker, and he is going to be out there,” Poole said.
Subdistrict 1C, which includes parts of Washington and Allegany counties, will also be in play, according to Poole.
Mike McKay, who won the Republican primary for 1C on Tuesday beating Ray Givens, will face Nick Scarpelli in the Nov. 4 general election.
Del. LeRoy Myers, the delegate for the subdistrict decided not to seek re-election. He is running instead for one of the five seats on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.
Myers, in 2002, beat then-House Speaker Casper Taylor to win the seat.
“Myers really understood what the populace wanted. Cass Taylor, on the other side, was great at being the insider in getting things done and funneling all sorts of money and projects back,” Poole said.
Taylor is helping Scarpelli in his campaign.
“My goal is to get quality people into the House,” Poole said.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has also put together a similar committee to help Democrats in Senate races, Poole said.
Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., http://www.herald-mail.com
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