Anne Arundel County Council Votes to Create Public Campaign Financing Fund

Media Contacts
Emily Scarr

State Director, Maryland PIRG; Director, Stop Toxic PFAS Campaign, PIRG

Morgan Drayton

Common Cause Maryland

Anne Arundel County, Md. — Members of the Fair Elections Maryland Coalition, including Common Cause Maryland and Maryland PIRG, applaud the Anne Arundel County Council for passing a long-awaited small donor Public Campaign Financing Fund for County Executive and County Council candidates today.
“This victory is a crucial investment in leaders that are truly representative of the people here in my home county of Anne Arundel,” said Morgan Drayton, policy & engagement manager at Common Cause Maryland. “By enabling candidates with proven community support to run competitive races without accepting large or corporate contributions, we can ensure that elected officials are accountable to their constituents — not wealthy special interests.”
The council passed Bill 25-23 in a 4-3 vote. Introduced by council chair Peter Smith on behalf of County Executive Steuart Pittman, this bill will create a Public Campaign Financing Fund for qualified candidates who are seeking to run for county office. The program will require that participating candidates only accept contributions $250 or less. These donations will then receive matching funds through the program, with the smallest contributions matched at the highest rate.
“In our democracy, the depth of your pockets should not dictate the volume of your voice,” said Maryland PIRG director, Emily Scarr. “Anne Arundel County just struck a major blow to the role of big money in elections and is building on Maryland’s national leadership on campaign finance reform.”
The Coalition members applauded County Executive Pittman for spearheading the bill and the County Council for passing it.
Anne Arundel is now the sixth local, small donor public financing program established in Maryland. The Fair Elections Maryland Coalition has worked to successfully establish similar programs in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County. Maryland has had a public financing system for gubernatorial campaigns since the 1970s that was modernized and funded in 2021.
With the passage of this bill, over half of Maryland voters will now be residents of counties with Fair Elections programs. Fair Elections programs have proven to be effective in empowering small donors.
The Fair Elections Maryland Coalition is a group of grassroots advocacy organizations working to bring the power of the people back to Maryland’s elections. Since its founding, the Fair Elections Maryland has worked with Montgomery County, Howard County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County to establish local small donor campaign finance programs. More information on the coalition is available here.