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In Arundel executive race, Schuh showing most cash on hand

In the race for Anne Arundel County executive, Republican Del. Steve Schuh has more than three times as much money in the bank as either of his rivals.

In the latest campaign finance reports that were due Wednesday, Schuh reported having nearly $865,000 cash on hand.

His opponent in the Republican primary, current County Executive Laura Neuman, reported having nearly $228,000 available.

The only declared Democratic candidate, Joanna Conti, reported a balance of nearly $253,000.

Schuh's campaign said the reports show he has broad support across Anne Arundel County.

"Our momentum is building to run an effective campaign with the resources to reach the voters," Schuh said in a statement.

Neuman's campaign countered that Schuh has been building his campaign funds for years. Neuman entered the race in the summer and raised about the same amount as Schuh did in the past 12 months, her campaign said.

"It's going to be an expensive race, and she's proved she can fundraise," Neuman campaign treasurer Bernadette Norrington said.

Neuman accepted about $275,000 in contributions since the summer, while Schuh took in nearly $270,000 over the past 12 months.

Contributions are one way that money is reported. The campaigns also report money received from other campaigns, political clubs and political action committees, the amount of tickets purchased, loans, and in-kind donations.

Neuman's total campaign income was $280,640. Schuh's total receipts were $280,067, plus amounts he lent himself. The finance report shows Schuh lent $559,562 to his campaign — though Schuh said it's actually about $350,000, because he's paid himself back $200,000.

Neuman has not lent her campaign money.

While Schuh has more money on hand, he's also been spending more. In the past 12 months, he spent nearly $88,000 on campaign salaries, nearly $105,000 on printing and materials, and $57,000 on fundraising expenses, according to the finance reports.

Neuman spent $13,000 on salaries and $24,000 on fundraising expenses, the report shows.

Democrat Conti's campaign income included $39,000 in contributions, $32,000 in ticket sales, nearly $11,000 in PAC donations and $102,200 she lent her campaign this month. Conti also made loans to her campaign totaling $145,000 in 2009 and 2010.

Conti has spent about $4,000 on salaries, $3,600 on printing and materials and $8,200 on fundraising expenses.

This is Conti's second run for the county executive job. She lost to John R. Leopold in 2010 in a three-way race that also included Green Party candidate Mike Shay.

While Conti is the only announced Democratic candidate, former county Sheriff George F. Johnson IV told The Baltimore Sun last week that he's weighing a run. Johnson lost the 2006 election to Leopold. He later was appointed superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Dan Nataf, a political science professor at Anne Arundel Community College, said the Republican primary is shaping up to be competitive. Many Republicans in the state will pay attention to the campaign, he said, because Anne Arundel is the largest jurisdiction where a Republican has a good chance of winning.

"There's a lot of eyes in the Republican party that will naturally go to this," said Nataf, who directs the college's Center for the Study of Local Issues.

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