We all are used to (for those of us that watch this stuff) Howard Hughes (or the Howard Research & Development Corporation) playing a role in local politics. We have for some time seen this entity provide money (sometimes significant money) to candidates running for County Executive, County Council, Maryland state Senate, Maryland State Delegate, Sheriff and other races…and not just here in Howard County…but here is something new (best I can tell)…this entity is now providing money for a candidate running for Howard County Board of Education.

Per the latest Campaign Finance Reports the Howard Research & Development Corporation provided $500 to Antonia Watts (HoCoBOE candidate in District 2). Now based on my basic searches this might be the first public open donation to a candidate running for Howard County Board of Education from that entity (not including in kind contributions in the past)…but now straight up money to a candidate running for the school board.

I did a search for “Howard Research” under the Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System and this is what I found:


You will find many elected officials or candidates for Governor, Howard County Executive, Howard County Council, Maryland State Senate and Maryland State Delegate…and state and local partisan entities…but Howard County Board of Education…I only found one on this list.


Now before I go much further…let me state there is nothing illegal or wrong with this contribution to this candidate. The candidate did nothing wrong by accepting this contribution. I want to make sure everyone reading this article understands that fact.

That being said…one has to ask (or at least I am asking)…why is this entity deciding to play a monetary role in the Howard County Board of Education races this year? What are the expectations of this entity with candidates elected to the board? Does this have anything to do with redistricting in the future with the local school board? Hmmm. I do not know…but this contribution has me thinking this morning.

We can all guess the answers to my questions above…but that is not my primary goal this morning…but to just point it out (because it appears a new thing) and ask questions.

I am going to say this again to make sure my readers understand this…no one did anything wrong here…just seems odd to me…and new…so I am asking questions. As a blogger in this community I have that right…as they (Howard Research & Development Corporation) have the right to provide funding for any candidate running for any office or any elected official in office today.

I hope we get answers some day…from the entity or the candidate running for office. Not sure that will actually happen…but I will continue to watch this stuff and ask questions.

I am sure this will be spun (by some in our community) as me attacking a specific candidate or playing partisan politics with this post….that is not at all what I am doing here. I am asking the question of why is a (or the major) development entity in our county providing funding for a Board of Education candidate (any candidate) and for what reason are they doing it? Seems like a reasonable question to me.

If I am way off here…and this entity has provided significant funding (or any funding) to candidates running for Howard County Board of Education in the past…feel free to send me that information and I will be happy to update this article with that information. I just did not find it in my searches in the Maryland Campaign Reporting Information System (see above).

Looking for more information about candidates running for Howard County Board of Education…check out this resource:

Scott E


  1. this is an eminently reasonable question. My question is, even though this is not illegal, it certainly doesn’t look good and why would she sully her reputation for $500? This doesn’t show good judgment.

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