Over the past several days, there have been several reports that former County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg has “launched” a primary campaign against Congressman John Delaney. There was a report on Daily Kos, citing this tweet, and then today local GOP blogger Ryan Miner reports the same thing, along with a laundry list of negative quotes and reports about Trachtenberg. All of the stories, however, are based on a single document: this statement of candidacy. Nobody actually checked to see if there’s a, y’know, campaign actually going on.
Moreover, when I went to the FEC website to look up the document, there was another document that everyone seems to have missed. Dated November 15, 2015 - less than a month before the statement of candidacy, the document is known as a “Disavowal Notice,” and it gets sent when the FEC believes that an individual with a federal committee (Trachtenberg has a committee from her earlier 2012 run) has raised or spent more than $5,000 in an election cycle. Under federal law, such activity makes the individual a “candidate,” thus triggering the requirement to either file a statement of candidacy or to “disavow” the financial activity. Administratively, the disavowal process is a nightmare and can take many months - or longer - to fully resolve. It’s therefore much easier to simply file a statement of candidacy, whether one intends to run or not.
Curious that there hasn’t been any mention of a Trachtenberg campaign - I saw her just last weekend - and aware of the disavowal notice, I reached out to sources close to Duchy this morning, and was told - emphatically - that my suspicions about the disavowal notice were right on the mark, and that she is not running against John Delaney.
Don’t believe everything you read on blogs. Except, of course, for Maryland Scramble. Debunking online myths since, well, about right now. As always, you’re welcome.