More than 250 mostly business supporters donated over $1,000 each to Martin O'Malley's mayoral campaign, helping to push the Democratic nominee over the $1.3 million mark, according to reports released yesterday.
The former state prosecutor and defense attorney faces Republican newcomer David F. Tufaro in the Nov. 2 general election to determine who will become Baltimore's 47th mayor.
In addition to the business support, O'Malley gained financial help from prominent area political leaders such as state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, who donated $5,800 left over from his November campaign, and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, who kicked in the $2,000 remainder he had from a past Congressional race. And he gained $6,000 in contributions from the campaign of council colleague Robert W. Curran, his wife's uncle.
O'Malley, a Northeast Baltimore City councilman, announced Friday that he has spent $1.2 million of the contributions, leaving $126,800 available for the final week of the campaign. Tufaro, a Roland Park developer, raised $89,000 according to a campaign report filed Friday.
O'Malley, an eight-year councilman, stunned watchers of city politics last month by gaining 53 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. His campaign reports that he collected $648,500 from 1,400 contributions -- about half of his total -- since the last reports filed on Sept. 2.
Businesses ranging from construction companies to attorneys were eager to jump on the O'Malley bandwagon, reports showed.
"I'm sure people are practically tripping over themselves to get their names on that report before the election," said Carol Arscott of the Gonzales/Arscott Research Communication Inc. of Annapolis, who has been tracking the race. "Everybody wants to be on the train before it leaves the station."
O'Malley himself said yesterday that he was surprised by the flood of contributions since winning the primary. So many donations have rushed in that O'Malley said he isn't sure who has contributed.
"The thing that surprises me is how quickly it was coming in," he said. "Early in the campaign, every dollar that was coming in, I was making calls."
Among the celebrity donors was poultry producer Frank Perdue, who gave O'Malley $500, as did former Baltimore mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro. David Modell, son of Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell and vice president of the NFL franchise, contributed $3,000. Modell's wife, Olwen, added another $3,000.
O'Malley, who leads his own Celtic rock band, gained $2,000 from the Irish American Democrats, based in Chevy Chase. He got another $1,000 from the Rev. Frank M. Reid III, pastor of Bethel AME Church, the city's largest African-American congregation.
The Restaurant Association of Maryland Political Action Committee contributed $5,800; attorney Wayne R. Gioioso Jr., vice president of Artemis Management and Development Inc., Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos' real estate company, gave $4,000.
O'Malley also got $4,000 contributions each from D. Traub & Son Inc. and Herber Electric Co., both of Baltimore, and $3,000 from GE Tignall & Son Inc., a city plumbing contractor.
Other political action committee donors included the Ironworkers Local Union No. 16 Political Action League, which gave $3,500.