MARYLAND

Montgomery County elections could cost millions with public financing

(Photo: Associated Press)
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ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - Montgomery County officials estimate that the county's 2010 Democratic primary might have cost as much as $9.6 million if a proposed public campaign financing system was in place.

The Washington Post reports that Finance Director Joseph Beach discussed the estimate related to a bill that would leverage individual contributions of up to $150 with matching funds at a council hearing this week. Beach says the high-end estimate assumes all eligible candidates opt in and receive maximum matching funds. He says the 2006 primary could have cost up to $13 million.

The bill proposed by councilman and county executive candidate Phil Andrews, who says he wants to attract more small donors and help candidates with limited resources. Andrews said Thursday that $8 million per four-year election cycle is more realistic.

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