With less than a week until Election Day, the two candidates running for Howard county executive have plenty of campaign money in the bank, according to reports filed Friday.
Incumbent Calvin Ball, a Democrat, has a campaign bank account balance of $362,260.70, while his opponent, Republican Allan Kittleman, has $210,737.20, according to reports filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Kittleman, a former county executive, stated in a news release Friday that he has received more than 2,500 donations from 2,016 individuals, and more than 90% of his donors live in Howard County. More than $280,000 was raised from these small donations, earning Kittleman the full public match – $700,000 – from the Howard County Citizens’ Election Fund.
The fund provides matching county funds to eligible candidates based on eligible contributions to their campaigns. It was established in 2019 to provide public campaign financing “in an effort to reduce the role of large private contributions during the election process and encourage small private donations,” according to the county.
A certified candidate for county executive can receive up to $700,000 in matching funds for the entire election cycle after demonstrating grassroots support by collecting a minimum of 500 individual donations totaling at least $40,000.
“The momentum our campaign has built in less than one year is nothing short of extraordinary,” Kittleman stated in the news release. “We have one of the largest grassroots campaigns in the history of Howard County, because folks know that we need fresh leadership who will be honest with them in tackling the serious issues.”
When Kittleman served as Howard county executive, he opposed the Citizens’ Election Fund bill that would go on to create the funding path for candidates who turn down large donations.
In the news release, Kittleman accused Ball of taking money from special interest groups.
Ball refuted the claim in an email Tuesday and said that his campaign is focused on issues that are important to the community, such as investment in education, the largest increase in sworn police officers in 15 years, and a 40% reduction in violent crime.
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“As a political candidate, Republican Allan Kittleman has raised over $3 million in his lifetime, including $1.3 million in his 2018 run for county executive, much of which came from special interests,” Ball stated. “He is only able to access the over $700,000 in taxpayer money from Citizens’ Election Fund due to our work to support publicly financed political campaigns, including my vote in support of establishing the Citizens’ Election Fund while on the County Council, my vote to override Republican Kittleman’s veto of the Citizens’ Election Fund legislation, and the $2 million allocated to the Citizens’ Election Fund under our administration, after he refused to establish or fund the program after it was codified into law.”
Kittleman received $140,445 in contributions Aug. 24-Oct. 23, according to the Friday report. His contributions range from $20 to $250, mostly from individual donors.
Kittleman has spent $561,128.92, according to his campaign finance report — $378,613.38 for media costs, $63,535.32 for printing and campaign materials, and $20,224.32 for fundraising expenses.
Campaign finance reports show that Ball received contributions of $220,953 during the same period. Of that, $2,000 is from non-federal committees from outside Maryland, and another $250 from Maryland political action committees. Ball’s top contributions came from Autumn River Corporation ($6,000), Event Consulting and Mgmt, Inc. ($6,000), and the Howard County Cricket League ($1,000).
Ball spent $748,689.24 on his campaign during that timeframe, according to his report. Of that, $593,650.31 on media expenses, $55,808.60 in field expenses, $50,000 for salaries and other compensation, and $14,616.34 for fundraising expenses.
This is not the first time Ball and Kittleman have faced off in a race for Howard County executive. In the 2018 election, Kittleman was the incumbent and Ball was a Howard County Council member. Ball won that election and has held the seat for the past four years.