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In 1999, then-City Councilman Martin O'Malley

raised $1,698,037.52 and spent $1,485,691.28 to get elected mayor of Baltimore. It took real money spent well to win that race, and if he hadn't won, today he likely wouldn't be governor of Maryland. "How you win also dictates how you are able to govern," O'Malley said at the time--as good a rationale as any for watching the count as the money flies. "Who gave how much?" and "Where was it spent?" are always worthy questions to ask during elections.

This year's mayoral race is no different on that score. What is different is the number of candidates starting out with money in their campaign accounts. Whereas O'Malley in 1999 faced two other major candidates for an open seat, this year the recently installed incumbent, Sheila Dixon (who took over as mayor when O'Malley went to Annapolis early this year), is facing at least three, and possibly four or more, other candidates starting out with at least a measure of financial traction. As a result, expect the mayoral money game to be frenzied.

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For the time being, though, the public can't scrutinize what's been happening during the shank of this year's fundraising. The numbers won't start going online for public consumption until after midnight on Aug. 14, when eight months of high-volume campaign accounting will be due at the Maryland State Board of Elections. Until then, all that can be scrutinized is the money reported by candidates prior to Jan. 18, going back as far as 1999.

The searchable database is at

, where anyone can look at how money was used in past elections. If O'Malley's high-minded homily is correct, then the data also say something about how the winners have governed.

Four of this year's nine Democratic candidates for mayor have won elections before: state Del. Jill P. Carter (D-41st District), Clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court Frank M. Conaway, Dixon, and City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. (D-11th District). The five remaining candidates--Phillip A. Brown Jr., Andrey Bundley, Desiree M. Dodson, A. Robert Kaufman, and Mike Schaefer--have run for office before, but none has won. Only two of those, Bundley and Dodson, have records of campaign finances available today in the Board of Elections database.

Dodson's current campaign committee is called Citizens for Desiree M. Dodson, but in 2002 she had one with nearly the same name: Citizens for Desiree Dodson, which supported her unsuccessful bid that year to unseat then-40th District state Sen. Ralph Hughes. In that race, Dodson's campaign raised $1,150, with $1,000 of it coming from three related companies headed by local businessman Hal Katz: Katz's Insurance Agency, Interstate Motor Club of Maryland, and Insurance Payment Plan. She lent her own campaign an additional $650. The bulk of the money was spent on Verizon phone services($700) and to rent a campaign car ($588.05).

Katz and his companies have also been major donors to the campaigns of mayoral hopeful Conaway, whose daughter Belinda Conaway is now a city councilwoman running for re-election in the 7th District. In 2002, Belinda Conaway ran unsuccessfully for 40th District state delegate on the Choice for Positive Change Slate, which also supported Dodson's Senate bid that year. The slate spent about half of its $5,000 on mailing and advertising, and the rest to reimburse the slate's other unsuccessful 40th District delegate candidate, Dennis Byrne, for campaign expenses.

A former Baltimore City public school principal, Bundley, too, has raised and spent money in Baltimore politics before, when he challenged O'Malley in the 2003 Democratic primary for mayor. He has three separate campaign committees registered with the Board of Elections. One, Friends of Dr. Andrey Bundley, has no reported records. Another, Supporters of Andrew Bundley, received a total of $100 on Oct. 20, 2005, from three supporters, and it still carries a $100 balance. The third, Committee to Elect Dr. Andrey Bundley, has raised $66,534.75 and spent $51,378.26 since it was formed last year.

Criminal defense attorney Warren Brown was by far Bundley's largest financial supporter. He gave the campaign $5,000 in two $2,500 contributions made last August, even though the legal limit for donating to one candidate in a four-year election cycle is $4,000. Randallstown accountant Nkiambi Jean Lema, who serves as Bundley's campaign treasurer, chipped in $3,330. Lewis Andrews, Bundley's campaign chair and co-chair of the Baltimore chapter of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, gave the campaign $3,485. The next largest donor, who gave $2,460, was Dennis Yabo of Fort Washington, about whom no further information could be found. De Lacy Davis of Newark, N.J., a former police officer who heads Black Cops Against Police Brutality, gave $2,000, as did Everyone's Place, an African center on West North Avenue. Staci Smith-Cannon, also a former Baltimore City public school principal, gave $1,100, and $1,000 each came from seven other contributors.

Nearly $25,000, about half of the $51,000 or so that Bundley's main committee spent, went to a company called the Perfect Word, located at 821 E. Baltimore St. The company's president is Leslie Tucker, and the firm provides office services and event planning, according to its

. Other large amounts include $3,850 to comedian Troy L. Rawlings of Ghost Host Entertainment for campaign materials, $2,500 for the Maryland Democratic Party directory, and $2,400 for advertising paid to a clothing store, Mosions.

In the weeks to come, The Count will look at the campaign money that in recent years has supported the remaining mayoral candidates: Carter, Conaway, Dixon, and Mitchell.

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