The next campaign finance reports are due at the end of the week. This round will cover just two weeks -- from Aug. 11 to midnight this morning.

It's a far smaller period than the mega reports covering seven months that we wrote about extensively earlier this month. At that point, we learned that the main gubernatorial contenders raised about the same amount -- more than $3 million apiece -- this year, but have spent at different rates. Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley's stockpile over the past few years helped leave him with a $4.5 million advantage over Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who entered the race in April.

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Still, a few interesting nuggets could be in these small new reports.

For one, we'll be anxious to see whether underdog Republican gubernatorial challenger Brian Murphy received a bump in donations following Sarah Palin's high-profile endorsement. The Palin shout-out came at an awkward time, campaign finance-wise, because it was so close to the previous fundraising cutoff.

We're also wondering whether Ehrlich has narrowed his cash-on-hand gap with O'Malley. The former governor has yet to air any television commericials, while O'Malley ads run regularly in the Baltimore market.

And competitive primaries will be in the spotlight, since this is the final fundraising report before the Sept. 14 primary election.

In Baltimore, some notable same-party challengers to establishment Democratic candidates raised loads of money this year. Among them, Bill Ferguson, who wants Sen. George Della's seat, and Gregg Bernstein, who hopes to topple State's  Attorney Patricia Jessamy.

The tight -- and costly -- Baltimore County Democratic primary saw Kevin Kamenetz outraise and outspend Joe Bartenfelder. Has that trend continued in recent weeks?

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