Capital News Service – Maryland residents donated more than three times more to Democrats than Republicans to federal races this year. This is based on data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Large donors across the country tended to be white, wealthy, and male, the center said. In Maryland, zip codes with relatively high median incomes and lower racial diversity gave more money, according to an analysis by the Capital News Service that overlaid Federal Election Commission data released Oct. 22 with data from the US Census Bureau.
"It doesn't reflect what our democracy is," said Emily Scarr, state director for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group. "Ideally, donor demographics would be more similar to the community in general."
Montgomery County's residents donated $ 23 million, roughly half of the state's total contributions to federal racing, according to CNS analysis. No other county donated more than $ 3.5 million to federal elections in the 2019-2020 election cycle.
Montgomery County is 20% black, compared to 30% for the entire state. Montgomery was also one of the 20 richest counties in the United States, according to a report by Fox Business last year.
When certain populations or populations are over-represented in the donor base, Scarr said, "Our democracy is out of whack."
Thirteen counties in Maryland gave more money to Republicans, while eleven gave more money to Democrats. But those who gave Democrats tended to contribute a lot more money.
Even within counties, donations are often concentrated in specific areas, according to CNS analysis of FEC and census data.
For example, residents in just one zip code – Chevy Chase 20815 – gave more than half of all Montgomery County's posts. This zip code is far whiter – 80.3% – than the district average, which according to the census figures is 60%. It also has an above-average average household income in the county.
Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign and support from outside groups have surpassed President Donald Trump's to around $ 1.4 billion to $ 860 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In Maryland, Biden's edge is $ 27 million to $ 9.9 million, according to CNS analysis.
Five Maryland zip codes each donated over $ 1 million to the Biden campaign: Fulton in Howard County and Chevy Chase, Potomac, and Bethesda in Montgomery Counties. The same Potomac zip code was also among the key areas of state that contributed to the Trump campaign and support committees – around $ 300,000 total.
The suburb of Lutherville-Timonium in Baltimore County, zip code 21093, was another top Trump donor area that donated around $ 225,000 to the campaign and president's support committees, compared to around $ 160,000 for Biden and related groups in the same zip code .
Overall, however, Baltimore County and Baltimore City gave Biden far more than Trump, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Again, the postal codes that contributed the most money to the Baltimore area overall were richer and whiter than their surroundings, according to census figures.
CNS spoke to a major Biden donor in a pro-Trump area and a major Trump donor in a pro-Biden area about the geographic and political differences in Maryland.
Miriam Zadek, 91, who lives in Baltimore County, donated more than $ 9,000 to Biden's campaign and support committees during the 2020 election cycle. She said she couldn't really comment on her neighbors' political views.
Zadek, who received a Governor & # 39; s Service Award from the state of Maryland in 2017 for establishing interpreting services for the deaf, said she supported Biden because she thought he would approach the COVID-19 pandemic more sensibly than Trump. She felt that the president's answer had written off seniors and let them die.
"I am annoyed that Trump now assumes that I do not count," said Zadek. "We cannot leave states to fend for ourselves. We need a sensible approach."
Zadek said she was delighted with Biden's election of California Senator Kamala Harris as his fellow campaigner and hoped that if Biden won, he would have a Democratic majority in the Senate.
In Chevy Chase, Montgomery County's 20815 zip code, which gave Biden more million than Trump, a top campaigner and support committee donor said she felt isolated from her neighbors.
Carol Greenwald, head of Potomac Investment, gave Trump and related groups around $ 13,000, according to FEC records.
"I actually believe this is the most important choice of my life and I'm 77 years old. So that says a lot," said Greenwald.
Greenwald said her support for the president resulted in many of her old friends stop talking to her about politics. She said she felt her neighbors were so hostile to her political views that they wanted to kick her out of her apartment building health club for wearing a pro-Trump T-shirt.
Greenwald came to Washington at the end of the Carter administration to head the National Consumer Cooperative Bank after serving four years as banking commissioner in the government of Democratic Governor Michael Dukakis in Massachusetts.
She said she felt the Democratic Party left her after 9/11 and was attracted to the Republicans despite Al Gore's election in 2000.
Greenwald said she now sees the Democrats as an existential threat to the nation.
"I believe the Democrats were taken over by a Marxist cohort," said Greenwald. She claimed that proposals by some Democrats to add the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as states, among others, would mean the end of American democracy.
Scarr of Maryland PIRG said the concerns of wealthier donors had a disproportionate impact on national and state policies.
"It will have an impact on who can run for office, what issues come on the agenda and ultimately public order," said Scarr.
The Maryland PIRG is advocating campaign funding reform and pushing for public funding from small donors at the local, state, and federal levels.
Under the MPIRG plan, public funding would equate to contributions under $ 200 at a roughly 6 to 1 ratio. For example, for a donor who gives $ 10, the candidate of choice would receive approximately $ 60. There is one caveat, however: the candidate must reject large contributions from companies and external groups.
The group has had success in Counties Howard, Prince George and Montgomery, "where donor demographics have definitely changed for Montgomery County Council," said Scarr, bringing them closer to being representative of the overall demographics of the county.