Donation Analysis of MD US Senate Candidates

How a person spends their money can tell you a bit about a person, including who and what kind of candidate they’ve supported in the past. So, I decided to do a little investigating into the donor records of the two leading Republican candidates for US Senate in Maryland. Using a combination of NewsMeat and the Maryland Board of Elections website, I found the following interesting results.

Here is a link to a table I prepared compiling Wargotz / Rutledge’s donation history for the past 10 years on both a federal and state level. Also included is a breakdown, by party, of Wargotz’s donations. Rutledge’s donations were all for Republican state candidates. Here are some bulleted observations from their donation records.

  1.  Rutledge has donated a total of $2,000 in the past 10 years to various Republican candidates throughout the state of Maryland. This is consistent with the conservative record that he’s trying to portray with his campaign.
  2. Rutledge has no federal donation history of note – meaning that he either only donated below $250 or did not donate to any federal candidates.
  3. Wargotz donated to Kathleen Townsend in 2002. He donated to some Queen’s Anne County Democrats in the past, but Townsend was the most notable candidate.
  4. Wargotz has not donated to a Democrat since 2002 and has since donated to Andy Harris, EJ Pipkin, George W. Bush, and has donated thousands to the Maryland GOP central committee as a whole.
  5. Wargotz has donated a decent amount to candidates in the past 10 years. In the past decade, Wargotz donated a total of $14,000 to state and federal Republican candidates. This could be partly based on his personal finances: from an analysis performed by OpenSecrets, Wargotz lent himself $75,000 to kickstart his campaign; Rutledge lent his campaign $25,000.

While this does not paint a complete picture of either candidate, it is interesting to note how they chose to spend their money. Wargotz’s financial support of Townsend in 2002 may haunt him in the 2010 election cycle, but his extensive financial support for the State GOP is not something to ignore. It shows a strong support for the State party and implies to me that his support for Democrats in the past is less ideological and more personal – based on personal support for the individual candidate. Rutledge has been consistently financially supporting only Republican candidates of various stripes – and non-partisan judges. His donations have varied from $5 to hundreds of dollars, but are not insignificant. They display a support for the party who’s nomination he’s seeking.

Basically, I have two conclusions from my analysis: Wargotz donates to his party of choice and to candidates he supports, no matter the party. Rutledge donates to Republican candidates he supports in whatever quantity he can spare, be it hundreds of dollars or $5. Feel free to post your opinions on my analysis in the comments section.

Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant