Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown dwarfed the fundraising efforts of his rivals and raised substantially more cash than any other candidate running for governor, according to finance reports filed Friday.
Brown's campaign reported that it had raised $813,000 in less than three weeks, more than three times what his closest competitor took in.
"Wow," Donald Norris, chair of the public policy department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, said of Brown's haul. "That is stunning."
Brown also spent heavily and heads into the final week of the Democratic primary campaign with $2 million on hand to finance an assault on the airwaves and a sophisticated get-out-the-vote effort for the June 24 primary.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler reported entering the final phase of the fiercely fought Democratic contest with $1.7 million on hand, enough to compete with Brown on television and pay for his own voter turnout effort. Gansler has lagged behind Brown in polls and was 21 points behind Brown in a recent Baltimore Sun survey.
With nearly $4 million to spend between them, experts say the two are likely to dole out most of that cash in the final week.
"Brown and Gansler are just going to slug it out with ads," Norris said. "I'm sure that Brown's campaign is holding the ammunition to see if Gansler goes really negative. And if they do, they're going to come back in kind."
Although he has reserves roughly the same size as Brown's, Gansler reported raising only $92,000 over the same two-and-a-half-week period. Brown pulled in nearly nine times that amount.
Gansler spokeswoman Katie Hill said that with Gansler and running mate Jolene Ivey's campaign cash and "hundreds of volunteers across the state who will knock on 30,000 doors during early voting alone, Doug and Jolene have the resources and the support to win."
Gansler's fundraising numbers were also overshadowed by Del. Heather R. Mizeur, who reported one of the most successful fundraising periods of her grass-roots campaign. She took in more than twice what Gansler collected during the period between May 21 and June, the most recent reporting period.
The $248,000 Mizeur said she raised includes $57,000 in matching funds from the state's public financing system. It leaves the Montgomery County Democrat with about $588,000 to spend.
Mizeur campaign spokesman Steven Hershkowitz said the campaign expects to receive another $85,000 in state money before the election is over.
On the Republican side, front-runner Larry Hogan raised about $47,000 and had $207,000 in the bank to spend.
Harford County Executive David R. Craig reported raising $273,000, giving him $166,000 to spend in the final week of the campaign. Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel County raised $14,000 and had $16,8000 on hand. Charles Lollar, a business executive from Charles County, raised $9,000 and had $15,000 on hand.
Early voting in the primary race began Thursday and will continue from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at early voting centers across the state through June 19.