The Frederick News Post is reporting that retiring State Delegate Galen Clagett is one step closer to a run for Maryland Comptroller. Clagett previously stated he was considering a run for Comptroller or Frederick County Executive (should the position be created). Today we discover Clagett has formed an exploratory committee for Comptroller:
"Clagett said an exploratory committee was formed about two weeks ago to get a feel for his chances of election."What happened roughly two weeks ago? Del. Kumar Barve announced he was "all in" for the Comptroller's race (assuming Peter Franchot vacates the seat). Clagett appears to be not quite as convinced as Barve, given that the News Post clarified:
"The final decision about whether to run won't come for a while. Clagett said he wouldn't file for candidacy for at least two years. And his choice depends on whether Franchot wants to hold on to his job as comptroller."As an aside, exploratory committees are funny creatures under Maryland election law. They fall into a gray area of semi-unregulated campaign finance. According to the State Board of Elections:
There are no statutory provisions that expressly authorize exploratory committees. However, the Office of the Attorney General has advised that some exploratory or “testing the waters” activities are permissible, but only for non-candidates. Exploratory Committees may not file a Statement of Organization with the State Board and may not engage in campaign finance activities. Monies raised exclusively for exploratory activities, and before the individual becomes a candidate, do not count against the person’s contribution limits....
After an authorized candidate campaign committee is established, the exploratory committee must cease all its activities until the election is over. The exploratory committee may contribute up to $4,000 to the authorized candidate campaign committee. No other surplus funds from the exploratory committee may be used or expended on behalf of the candidate....These restrictions make it slightly constraining to stay in exploratory mode for too long (especially when your competitors are gearing up) - but we are still 1,027 days until the Democratic Primary.
Exploratory committees are limited in their scope and purpose to raising and spending funds for conducting surveys, polls, mailings, or other activities in an effort to determine if the individual is a viable candidate. Once the exploratory committee exceeds these limitations and engages in campaign finance activity, registration of an authorized candidate campaign committee is required, i.e. by filing the Statement of Organization with the State Board.
In other news, sources are telling us that Prince George's State Senator Jim Rosapepe is telling folks he will be in the race. But, we are waiting for verification of this hearsay or some other sign of life. As yet another random aside, in the course of researching the candidates, I discovered that the "jimrosapepe.com" url is owned by a Mike Miller of Severn, MD. One of Mr. Miller's listed email addresses is at demdogs.com:
"DemDogs is the reincarnation of Bark for Clark, a self-organized group of canines who supported General (ret.) Wesley Clark for President."Does Senate President Mike Miller have a secret love of dogs and Wes Clark (sometimes in the same setting?) -- or is this a different Mike Miller? :) Our Senate President has been known to diaper his own pets!
Sorry for the distraction. In any case, we will get around to dissecting the basic political terrain in the Comptroller's race in a future post.