Public funding works!
Cut the corrupting influence of large campaign contributions out of our democracy.
In Montgomery County alone, in the last election cycle successful County Council candidates raised almost $208,000 to run for one of the five district seats and over $237,000 to run for one of the four at-large seats. Two candidates brought in over $300,000. Only a third of that funding came from small donors of $250 or less.
Corporations and mega donors have too much influence over who can run for office, the issues they debate, who wins, and the public policies they produce.. And they certainly understand how important Maryland elections are.
Preliminary analysis by Common Cause Maryland of the 2010 election cycle shows the
increasing role of big money in these localized elections:
It doesn't have to be this way. In county government and the legislature, we can create a system that empowers small dollar donors in the political system and makes elected officials accountable to the people that elected them, not their special interest donors.
Small donor incentive programs would put the citizens of our state back in charge of elections. It has the potential to significantly reform Maryland politics. Here's how:
Candidates for the state Senate on average spent $95,000 and candidates for the House of Delegates spent $47,000.
Increase citizen participation in elections.
Allow incumbent legislators to spend more time focusing on big issues and the needs of their constituents.
Give voters more choices and allow a more diverse set of candidates the opportunity to run for office, including women and minorities, those who are not personally wealthy (think social workers rather than just lawyers!), those who do not have access to traditional sources of campaign funding (political parties, big business, etc.), or those who do not want to be dependent on special interests.
Candidates for the Howard County Council raised between $44,000 and $182,000; an average of $95,505. The County Executive raised over $1.4 million.
Help ensure that policies adopted by legislators are more in line with the public's preferences.
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