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Candidates Get Going Early On District 16 Fundraising

By Aaron Kraut

Thursday - 6/20/2013, 10:50am  ET

U.S. Rep. Frank Pollone (left) with District 16 Delegate candidate Hrant Jamgochian at a fundraiser on Monday

Hrant Jamgochian’s campaign said it raised more than $20,000 in less than five weeks after a Monday night fundraiser for the District 16 House of Delegates candidate.

It could be a sign of things to come in a wide open and potentially costly race for what looks to be two open District 16 seats in next June’s Democratic Primary.

County Councilmember Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) predicted 15 to 20 candidates would jump in the race while speaking at a campaign training event in March. At that event were three who have since announced their candidacy — Jamgochian, Jordan Cooper and Marc Korman — and others who said they were considering.

Some say it could cost upwards of $100,000 in mailings, ads and other campaign expenses to be competitive.

In 2010, Del. Ariana Kelly beat out 10 other candidates to take over the seat of Karen Britto, who did not run for re-election. Kelly edged out Kyle Lierman and Jamgochian with 5,080 votes and $77,000 in the bank, according to state campaign finance records. Lierman spent even more.

Jamgochian’s campaign claims it has received contributions from 150 different donors since he officially announced his campaign in early May. The attorney, who is executive director of a dialysis patient advocacy organization, was joined on Monday by New Jersey Democratic Congressman Frank Pollone, ranking member of the House Energy and Health Subcommittee.

The campaign said Jamgochian’s fundraising success is notable because it has come so early “and the diverse and large number of donors who have quickly coalesced around his campaign.”

“While many candidates in this district ran on primarily self-funded campaigns in 2010, Jamgochian’s grassroots support and fundraising power are a show of his greater visibility,” read a press release.

Korman already has $33,000 in the bank, according to his annual 2013 finance report filed in January. The 31-year-old attorney has been a long time member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

Cooper, a 28-year-old healthcare policy wonk who worked as an aide to a Baltimore lawmaker, is a relative unknown. He held his first fundraiser in May.

Lierman is rumored to be weighing a State Senate run. Former District 1 County Council candidate Karen Kuker-Kihl has said she plans to run for one of the two expected Delegate seats.

Photo via Jamgochian Campaign