Both Howard County executive candidates claimed momentum heading into the final week of their campaigns, as a final round of campaign finance reports was released Oct. 24.
Democrat Courtney Watson, a county councilwoman, held the fundraising lead over Republican Allan Kittleman, a state senator, although Kittleman's report showed him closing in on the gap between the money each candidate has in the bank.
In the two-month period between Aug. 20 and Oct. 19, Watson raised $262,195, while Kittleman raised $109,807. Watson's camp has $259,605 to spend overall; Kittleman has $204,800.
The reports show a renewed surge for Watson, whose campaign raised just $30,976 over the summer, and continued confidence in Kittleman, whose campaign received a significant boost in funds from June to August. The Republican's summer fundraising totaled $103,127, a figure only slightly less than the total amount of money his campaign collected in the first six months of the year.
In a statement, Kittleman said his campaign was "extremely pleased with the number of small contributions from Democrats, Independents and Republicans who understand we will improve our schools and open county government to every citizen as we earn trust and work with every sector of the community."
Kittleman's campaign said the funds raised would be used "for a final week of communication with voters on television, in mailings, on the internet and in person."
Watson's campaign said her finance report "reflects the steady momentum which has been building since Courtney announced her candidacy one year ago."
"I am humbled by the response of my supporters," Watson said in a statement. "We are in the final push towards the finish line and their donations in dollars as well as their donations of time and effort are propelling us forward. We are working hard to make sure that we continue to build on the progress in Howard County. We fight to protect our top-rated schools, our continued success in bringing jobs to the county and our nationally recognized system of public safety."
Early voting throughout the state began Oct. 23 and continues through Thursday. The general election will be held Nov. 4.