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O'Malley's federal PAC takes small end-of-year haul

Talk of Gov. Martin O'Malley's presidential ambitions for 2016 is plentiful.

But, at this early stage, donors are not.

With three years to go before the first primaries and uncertainty about whether outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic presidential nomination, it's not surprising that O'Malley's relatively new federal PAC reported Thursday raising only $47,390 over the past month -- ending the year with just over $28,000 in the bank.

In a year-end campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission, the committee reported raising just under $191,000 in 2012.

The PAC, and its potential future donors, could prove critically important as O'Malley seeks to build relationships with Democratic candidates in early states ahead of the 2014 midterm election. For now, though, there are only scant signs that a campaign beyond Maryland's borders may be getting underway.

Expenditures from the governor's O' Say Can You See PAC were made to his longtime fundraising consultant, Colleen Martin-Lauer; Adam Goers, a former Clinton campaign aide and the PAC's executive director; and Blue State Digital, a web and communications firm that also counts the Obama campaign among its clients.

Major Democratic donors are keeping their cool until there is more certainty about the field of candidates -- particularly Clinton -- but O'Malley neverthelss received some noteworthy checks from Maryland in the past month, including $1,000 from Maryland State School Board member James H. DeGraffenreidt Jr., $1,000 from former Connecticut congressman turned Bethesda consultant Bruce A. Morrison and $5,000 from Ralph S. Tyler III, who was O'Malley's city solicitor when the governor served as mayor of Baltimore.

O'Malley, who is term-limited in 2014, has hedged for years on whether he would seek national office, even as he used his recent tenure as chair of the Democratic Governors Association to visit Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and other early primary states. Without a campaign to serve as surrogate for, O'Malley has been less visible on the national stage in recent months, focusing more on his waning time in Annapolis.

Clinton allies have been raising money for the former New York senator's campaign account, but that effort was largely intended to pay off debt from her 2008 presidential campaign. A group of Clinton supporters also formed a PAC this week to bolster her finances should she choose to run.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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