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Berliner Outraises Trachtenberg In District 1 Council Race

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 5/27/2014, 11:15am  ET

Roger Berliner (far left) and Duchy Trachtenberg (middle) prepare for April's District Council 1 debate as Town of Chevy Chase Mayor Pat Burda introduces the candidates (file photo)Facing a large disadvantage in campaign funds, incumbent District 1 Councilmember Roger Berliner turned on the fundraising efforts since January.

Berliner raised $176,926 in campaign money since Jan. 9, according to campaign fundraising reports made available on Tuesday’s filing deadline day. That leaves him with about $100,000 more on hand for the last month of his primary bout against former at-large Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg.

Trachtenberg, who surprised Berliner’s camp when she entered the District 1 race in late February, spent $120,000 of her campaign war chest since January, double the amount Berliner did. Most of that money went to $47,000 in direct mail costs.

Trachtenberg raised $60,150 since January 9, a total that included a $3,000 donation from the local government employees union and $4,000 from the Bethesda-based maker of strollers that provide shade for babies.

Berliner’s donations included a $2,750 check from Jeffrey Abramson of the Tower Companies, more than $4,000 in donations from Lerner Enterprises, $5,000 from the Maryland Realtors Political Action Committee, $4,000 from the Greater Capital Area Realtors PAC and a number of other donations from property owners and developers.

Trachtenberg entered the race with $122,574 in campaign funds leftover from previous races. That put Berliner’s campaign in an early hole. His campaign treasurer told supporters in April it might take $250,000 to win the race.

The developer support for Berliner is likely no surprise to Trachtenberg’s campaign. In the middle of an April debate with Berliner in Chevy Chase, Trachtenberg’s campaign staff handed out a list of all developer contributions to Berliner in the last eight years.

Berliner’s contributions also include $250 from Town of Chevy Chase Vice Mayor Pat Burda, who has been a leading voice against the planned Purple Line. Bill Buchanan, a neighbor concerned with development in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan area, contributed $500 to Berliner’s campaign.

Berliner spent about $15,000 on direct mail since January and a substantial portion of his spending was on campaign manager Andrew Feldman. Trachtenberg likewise spent a lot on campaign staff — including $6,250 to the firm of longtime Democratic campaign worker Joe Trippi.

Trachtenberg’s campaign also dished out nearly $15,000 for a poll, $4,661 to the Strathmore for a campaign kickoff event and 1,430 to the Washington Jewish Week for an ad during Passover.