With former Baltimore County Executive Donald P. Hutchinson leading the cheers at a Thursday night fund-raiser, Democrat Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III's campaign to capture the office raised more than $100,000 for a down-the-stretch TV ad blitz.
Although Mr. Hutchinson said he has no argument with the job Republican incumbent Roger B. Hayden has done since 1990, he praised Mr. Hayden's challenger as a man who "understands the people of this county like no one else running for office today."
"No one in the history of the county is better prepared to be a good county executive from the day he takes office," Mr. Hutchinson said, referring to Mr. Ruppersberger's years on the County Council and as an assistant state's attorney.
"He was always a man of his word," the former executive said.
Mr. Hutchinson, executive director of the Greater Baltimore Committee, was county executive from 1978 to 1986 and the only executive to serve two full terms.
Tickets to Thursday night's event were $500 each for the 135 who attended a 90-minute private reception before the main event, and $100 for the main party.
The event attracted a respectable, but not a capacity, crowd to the cavernous Towson Center, which was reduced in size by partitions and a large diamond-shaped bar in the center.
Ruppersberger campaign manager Robert J. Barrett said 1,400 people attended, though several in attendance estimated the crowd at fewer than 1,000 people.
"We had 962 tickets sold before the doors opened," Mr. Barrett said. The event should clear at least $125,000, he said, more than enough to pay for television advertising for the last three weeks before the Nov. 8 election. Those ads are to begin running tomorrow.
Mr. Hayden, who had a smaller, $250-a-ticket affair Sept. 26, has another $125-a-ticket fund-raiser scheduled for tomorrow evening at a Towson restaurant and a $20 per ticket rally planned for Friday. He has had radio ads running for the past week but won't start a television campaign right away, his campaign officials said.