David Craig

David Craig (October 30, 2013)

Harford County Executive David R. Craig, expected to be one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor, reported Tuesday that he ended the 2013 fund-raising year with almost $50,000 less than he had on hand a year before.

Craig, who filed a day ahead of the deadline, reported having $154,577 on hand at the close of the reporting period Jan. 8. Last year, he ended the 2012 fund-raising year with just over $200,000.

The two-term Harford executive reported that he took in almost $250,000 in contributions and other earnings. That was offset by more than $296,000 in spending -- more than half of it going toward campaign staff salaries.

Craig's fund-raising total slightly exceeds last year's $231,000, but both years look anemic compared with millions of dollars expected to be reported by the leading Democratic contenders.

Jim Pettit, spokesman for the campaign, played down the significance of the totals.

"The emphasis of the campaign, thus far, has been seeing people where they live and work and getting seen across the state," he said.   This spring, both candidates will turn their focus to raising significantly more funds through their expanding contacts and will launch a fund-raising drive that will support  a paid media campaign that results in victory on primary day."

The primary is June 24.  Other announced GOP candidates are Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel County and Charles County business executive Charles Lollar, both of whom are expected to report Wednesday. Larry Hogan, president of the conservative advocacy group Change Maryland, plans to announce his candidacy but won't have to report his finances until the spring because he set up a political committee only last Friday.