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Hogan, Brown spent a combined $24 million

Hogan-Brown contest falls short of spending record in 2006 Ehrlich-O'Malley race.

Despite the barrage of political ads that assailed the eyes and ears of Marylanders in the recent governor's race, Democrat Anthony G. Brown and Republican Larry Hogan didn't set a spending record.

Spending by the Hogan and Brown campaigns — combined with expenditures their state political parties made explicitly on their behalf — came to $24.2 million for the four-year election cycle, according to campaign finance reports filed this week. In 2006, the GOP's Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Democrat Martin O'Malley spent a combined $30 million.

The figure for the 2014 contest will edge up slightly before the campaigns close the books in their final reports in January after dealing with lingering expenses. The combined figure has edged out the 2010 O'Malley-Ehrlich spending mark of $22 million.

Fueled by an advertising spurt in the in final weeks of the campaign, Hogan and the Republicans wound up spending about $5.9 million on his campaign. Brown and the Democratic Party spent $18.3 million.

Though the totals show Brown outspent Hogan by about 3 to 1, the general election was much less of a financial mismatch because much of Brown's spending came during a hotly contested primary.

Hogan, who accepted $2.6 million in public financing in return for abiding by fundraising limits, spent just over $5 million on his general election campaign. That includes Republican Party money spent on his behalf. Brown and the Democrats spent $6.6 million on his general election effort.

Brown felt compelled to borrow $500,000 from the Laborers International Union in the final month of the campaign to keep up his media blitz until Nov. 4. The money has not been repaid.

The Brown campaign committees, including running mate Ken Ulman's from the time he joined the ticket in June 2013, list in their reports a combined $27.7 million in spending during the primary and general election contests. However, that includes millions of dollars of transfers in which one Brown-Ulman committee sent money to another.

The Baltimore Sun reached the $24.2 million total by excluding such transfers as expenditures. That figure does not include spending from the federal accounts of the two political parties — in which Brown held a substantial advantage. Nor does it include the millions of dollars in spending by the Democratic and Republican governors' associations and various outside groups seeking to influence the race.

In many cases, that spending is reported to the Federal Election Commission rather than to the State Board of Elections.

The final numbers show that Ulman, the Howard County executive who considered running for governor before joining Brown, pulled his financial weight as a running mate. His campaign committee contributed $5.5 million — more than a quarter of the money spent in their joint effort.

Hogan's running mate, Boyd Rutherford, did not establish a separate committee.

The totals show that Hogan operated on a much leaner scale than Brown. Since the June 24 primary, Hogan paid just over $240,000 in salaries and other compensation. Brown paid about $1.4 million. Over that period, Brown paid campaign manager Justin Schall $45,874 in wages while Hogan manager Steve Crim earned $19,617. Schall did double duty as the campaign's chief spokesman while Crim did not.

Hogan's frugality paid off in the amount of money available for TV during the general election campaign. He and the Republicans spent $2.8 million on air time, not far behind Brown's $3.5 million.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

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