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Hogan jumps out to lead in cash on hand

Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan jumped out to a massive — but almost certainly temporary — lead in cash in hand over Democratic rival Anthony G. Brown, the Hogan campaign reported Tuesday night.

Hogan's better than 3-1 advantage — $2.4 million to Brown's $760,000 — was based largely on a July 9 lump sum payment of $2.6 million from the state's public financing fund after the June 24 primary. However, Hogan's fund-raising for his general election campaign is essentially frozen, while Brown can continue to raise money through the Nov. 4 election.

Brown aides reported that he had raised more than $1.54 million over the past two months, with some of that money coming in the last weeks of the primary campaign.

Aides to Brown pointed to another $1.1 million in Maryland Democratic accounts, for a total of $1.8 million that they said could be spent on behalf of Brown and other candidates.

Both campaigns waited until late into the night to report their results. Hogan's report was not posted online until after 11:30 p.m. prior to the midnight deadline.

Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky said the numbers show this year's campaign is "the most competitive race in a generation."

In a statement passed on by Dubitsky, Hogan said the latest numbers confirm what he's hearing on the campaign trail: "Marylanders want change and they are going to step up and fight back against the policies that are crushing our state over the last eight years."

Brown campaign manager Justin Schall said the lieutenant governor and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, were pleased with the results.

"We have a robust fundraising campaign lined up for the next few months, and I have no doubt we'll have all the funds we need to get out our message," Schall said.

The reports cover the period from June 9 to Aug. 19, when many candidates were scrambling to refill campaign coffers emptied by competitive primary races.

Hogan is operating under a different set of rules from Brown because he is accepting public financing.

Jared DeMarinis, director of the election board's campaign finance division, said the Republican nominee received the $2.6 million from the Fair Campaign Finance Fund after his primary victory.

Under the rules governing public financing, Hogan is barred from raising additional money for his campaign committee for the general election. He could, however, raise money to pay the $742,238 in debts he ran up during the primary campaign, including $500,000 he lent to himself, DeMarinis said.

The report showed that Hogan raised almost $115,000 and used it to pay off debts to vendors but not himself.

Hogan is also allowed to help raise money for the Republican State Central Committee and county central committees, the official said. The state party, which has established what it calls a Hogan Victory Fund, can spend up to $1.8 million on behalf of his candidacy. The county parties collectively can spend the same amount.

The state party reported it raised $31,210 to supplement Hogan's efforts, leaving it with a cash balance of $18,198 in its election account.

Joe Cluster, executive director of the state GOP, said the party began raising money for the Hogan Victory Fund only in early August. Now that the party has a bank account set up, he said, it will step up its fundraising efforts for the general election.

Also reporting were candidates in the state's county executive races.

In Howard County, Republican nominee Allan Kittleman reported that he had raised $112,985, more than three times the $33,476 Democratic rival Courtney Watson took in. Watson, a county councilwoman, still has a better than 2-1 advantage in cash on hand, with $644,243 to Kittleman's $308,900.

Kittleman said his fundraising exceeded expectations.

"This demonstrates a clear momentum shift as voters begin to assess the candidates and decide whom they wish to support," Kittleman wrote in an email.

A spokeswoman for Watson dismissed his assertion.

"I would assume that the Republican establishment stepped up for him during this reporting period," spokeswoman Martha McKenna said. She said Watson has been "focused on campaigning" rather than fundraising this summer.

In Anne Arundel County, Republican county executive hopeful Steve Schuh reported more than three times as much money as Democratic rival George F. Johnson IV.

Schuh, a state delegate from Gibson Island, had $225,321 in cash on hand, while Johnson, a former county sheriff from Pasadena, reported $72,348.

Johnson entered the county executive's race late. Schuh has been rebuilding his finances after a bruising but successful Republican primary to unseat County Executive Laura Neuman.

In Harford County, Republican Sen. Barry Glassman is sitting on a campaign kitty of almost $220,000 in his bid to succeed David Craig as county executive. His Democratic opponent, Joseph Werner, has yet to meet the $1,000 fundraising threshold that would require him to file a report.

In what might be the largest financial mismatch of the election season, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz ended the most recent campaign finance reporting period with just over $1 million in cash on hand. His Republican rival, George Harman, reported just under $3,000.

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

michael.dresser@batsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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