Democratic Candidates for Cecil County Exec: McKnight Tops in $

March 24, 2012

Robert McKnight, the mayor of North East and a Democratic candidate for Cecil County Executive, remained the top fundraiser of the campaign season so far while his two Democratic primary rivals ran low budget, self-financed efforts.

The latest campaign finance reports, which covered the period from 1/12/12 to 3/18/12, are the last financial accounting required by the State Board of Elections before the April 3 primary. (Early voting for the primary began Saturday 3/24/12.) Reports of additional activity will have to be filed after the primary.

Since McKnight, who is also a full-time church pastor, filed his candidacy last year well ahead of his rivals, he had previously filed a required report in January covering his 2011 campaign activity. For his Democratic rivals, the pre-primary report was their first filing with the state Board of Elections.

In his new report, McKnight tallied a total of $6,055 in new fundraising receipts, including $2,205 in new contributions and $3,850 in ticket purchases to his fundraising dinner event. At the end of the reporting period, McKnight still had $1,482 cash in his bank account.

McKnight’s first campaign finance report, filed in January, listed $7,000 in contributions, nearly all of which came from individuals and businesses linked to the developer Clark Turner. [SEE previous Cecil Times report here:

He carried over most of that money into his new report as costs of campaign operations were mostly paid out during the timeframe covered by the new report. All told, McKnight has raised a total of $13,055 for his campaign.

In contrast, his chief challenger in the Democratic primary, former county Treasurer Pam Howard, has raised just $1,700 in contributions for her largely self-financed campaign. Of that amount, $1,500 came from her own funds while Clifford Guy of North East donated $200. She also listed a $655 in-kind donation from herself to purchase campaign signs. Jake Zahn, of Port Deposit, loaned the campaign $250.

After advertising costs and expenses for a billboard, Howard had just $79 left in her campaign bank account.

Meanwhile, McKnight’s recent fundraiser, held at an Italian restaurant in North East, drew mostly individual ticket purchases from recognized Democrats and others.

Among new direct donations to his campaign, Harry Hammond donated a total of $500 while there was one large business entity donation: $1,000 from Covenant Capital Partners, of Perryville. Other business donors included $340 from RNJ, LLC, of Rising Sun; and $100 from the Northeastern Maryland Development Co., of North East.

On expenditures, McKnight reported spending $3,334 on printing costs and $3,736 on newspaper ads, primarily for ads in the Cecil Whig and The Herald. McKnight also reported purchasing multiple ads on Facebook to promote his campaign.

The third candidate in the Democratic race for County Executive, Winston Robinson, is the sole contributor to his campaign. Robinson is a senior financial manager for the City of Wilmington and previously worked in the Cecil County Treasurer’s office under Howard.

Robinson put in a total of $3,981 to his campaign, and after expenses for ads and printing of campaign materials, he reported $200 remaining as the ‘cash balance’ in his campaign account. However, he also reported his bank account for the campaign had a zero balance at the 3/18 end of the time period covered by the report.

During a recent candidate forum for Democratic candidates, Howard referenced her own self-financed campaign in contrast to that of an un-named rival– obviously, McKnight. [SEE Cecil Times report on the forum here: ]

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