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Pa-10 Dems differ on fundraising focus

Written by Emily Previti, Keystone Crossroads Reporter | May 10, 2018 4:42 AM
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Pennsylvania's 10th congressional district consists of Dauphinand part of York and Cumberland counties.

(Undated) -- None of the four 10th District Democratic candidates has held elected office, though each has a history of public service combining government, military, clergy, healthcare and/or advocacy.

But when it comes to fundraising, there are clear differences in where their money is coming from that appear tied to their career paths

Eric Ding and Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson both established careers far from central Pennsylvania. 

Ding, 35, is a Harvard-educated public health scientist who grew up in Cumberland County. York native Corbin-Johnson, 26, graduated from Georgetown University before going to work for Sen. Bob Casey and then the Office of Management and Budget during the Obama administration.

And both have raised significant funds from sources outside the district.

"Trust me, I've been chasing those local donors," says Dan Kalai, Ding's campaign manager. Kalai says some donors typically want to wait to support the successful primary candidate in their fall campaign. But in this case, some also already gave to Christina Hartman, who withdrew after her nominating petitions were challenged and is in the process of returning campaign contributions.

Retired military officers George Scott, 56, a pastor from Dillsburg, and Alan Howe, 55, who's recently spent retirement in Carlisle volunteering and serving on local boards, have kept fundraising local and haven't brought in nearly as much as Ding and Corbin-Johnson.

Combined, they've brought in $577,000, and are busy spending it down as primary election day approaches. Incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Perry is meanwhile sitting on $433,000, as he readies to mobilize for his fourth term in a district redrawn to be more competitive - but still expected to go to the GOP.

Ding's national network

Ding raised over $235,000 as of April 25, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

At least $25,000 of that is marked for the general campaign, should he get there.

More than $56,200 is his money. Most of the rest comes from Silicon Valley and prestigious university hospitals and academic institutions nationwide, including:

  • Nearly $32,000 from physicians and other healthcare professionals
  • $30,000 from academics and researchers at Merck, the WHO, the National Institutes of Health, Harvard, CalTech, Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Yale, California-Berkeley and elsewhere
  • $15,000 from Silicon Valley
  • About $14,000 from financial and business professionals
  • $5,000 from the 314 Action Fund to elect scientists to public office

Ding says his donors are part of his network and that he knows all of them, and has suggested Corbin Johnson doesn't know her contributors.

Silicon Valley for Shavonnia

Corbin-Johnson says she's getting financial backing from people she knows, but also from those she does not who simply support her platform.

More than 90 percent of $133,000 in itemized donations to Corbin-Johnson's primary campaign is from out of state.

There's another $61,000 of unitemized contirubtions that Corbin-Johnson says is mainly from in-state sources, but that detail isn't required to be reported to the FEC.

Contributors who gave the most possible - $2,700 per campaign cycle for individuals - or close to it consist mainly of executives, engineers and programmers at Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Slack, Basecamp, Salesforce, OpenTable, Cisco and Harley Davidson. Some money came from tech writers and financial professionals as well.  

Corbin-Johnson hasn't reported putting any of her own money toward her campaign, nor has she reported contributions from political action committees.

There's also another $5,000 already committed for her general election campaign, if she has one.

Local=limited?

Just five of Scott's primary campaign donors hit the FEC max per cycle of $2,700. Two are his brother William Scott, and a coworker at Los Angeles-based financial brokerage firm Wedbush.

Other top donors have been Sam Spangler, a Berks County-based VP at engineering firm Intel, and midstate real estate developer John Detweiler. Detweiler is also on the boards of PennFuture and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Scott's own money comprises about a quarter of the $116,000 he has raised, and he reported nothing from political action committees.

A good deal of Howe's $30,000 is "in-kind" contributions.

Second to Howe himself, who provided slightly less than $10,000 of his own money, the top contributor listed is Stephen McCaren. McCaren provided Howe with a rent-free space for campaign headquarters in Carlisle at an estimated value of $1,200.

Howe was running in a different district before the maps were redrawn, which could partly explain his low fundraising totals.

Howe also doesn't have the deep local roots like the others, settling in Carlisle just six years ago.

All three of his competitors spent their careers away from the midstate, but were born and raised here.

Scott's father also headed the Adams County Democratic party.

*This story has been updated to reflect the fact George Scott's father headed the Adams County Democratic party, not York County's*

Published in Cumberland County, Harrisburg, News, York

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