A Tale Of Two Candidates

Hi. A lot has been said of late about the costs of running for Mayor and about two candidates in particular. One is self-made millionaire venture capitalist David Warnock. The other is a government employee, attorney Elizabeth Embry. Mr. Warnock is wealthy. Ms. Embry is not.

Ms. Embry has been criticized for having a relative handful of family, friends and supporters who are very successful and able to contribute the maximum amount ($6000) allowed by law. This is perfectly legal, of course. If you don’t like the campaign laws, you know what you can do to change them.

Mr. Warnock also has a number of larger contributions, many from people he knows through his various business dealings. Again, perfectly legal. Implied criticism of his campaign has centered around the whopping $1,775,000 he’s loaned his campaign, primarily to buy television commercials. The obvious question is, “Taking his personal wealth off the table, would he still be running or have anything noteworthy to offer voters?”

Let’s compare the two candidates – solely on the basis of the cost effectiveness of their respective campaigns. Take a look at the table below. It’s a screenshot from an Excel spreadsheet. You can click on it to make it larger.

David Warnock versus Elizabeth Embry

What you’ll notice is that Mr. Warnock has raised a huge amount of money – mostly from himself. He’s outraised Ms. Embry by just over 4:1 and outspent her by almost 6:1. More to the point, Mr. Warnock has spent over $2.4 million for his 7 points in the most recent Sun poll. That’s an average of $346,375 per point.

“Wow! …That’s impressive, but not in a good way.”

You said it. Ms. Embry, on the other hand, has spent an average of only $45,111 for each of her 9 points in the most recent Sun poll. Per point, Mr. Warnock has paid 7.68 times as much as Ms. Embry for each point – and she’s in third place and rising in the overall standings while Mr. Warnock is behind her in fourth place and falling in the polls


Now, ask yourself, based on these numbers describing the cost effectiveness of their respective campaigns, which one of these candidates would you want running the city’s $2.5 billion budget?

Mr. Warnock is free, of course, to spend, even waste his hard-earned wealth as he chooses. Unfortunately, it’s not a luxury he would have as Mayor of Baltimore.

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