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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan raises more than $2 million in 2 months, maintaining cash dominance in race

The re-election campaign of Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday it raised more than $2.5 million in little more than two months — allowing the Republican governor and running mate Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford to maintain a formidable war chest headed into the race’s final months.

Despite recent pricey television ad buys, Hogan’s campaign has more than $9.4 million on hand — significantly more than former Gov. Martin O’Malley had at this time during his successful re-election run. It’s about the same amount Hogan reported before the June 26 primary, when his Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous, and his running mate reported just $400,000 on hand.

The Jealous campaign has not yet released details of its campaign finance report, which is due to the Maryland Board of Elections by Tuesday at midnight.

“I am pleased to report that we have exceeded our fundraising objectives,” Hogan campaign chairman Tom Kelso wrote in a memo released to reporters. “By comparison, Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown filed with a combined $6.36 million during their 2010 re-election campaign at around this time.”

Kelso wrote that 94 percent of Hogan donors are Marylanders and 66 percent are small donors, “which demonstrates the depth of that support at the grassroots level.”

He said the latest fundraising haul for the period between June 11 and Aug. 21 means Hogan and Rutherford have raised nearly $24 million this election cycle for their campaign and for the Maryland Republican Party.

One fundraising event for Hogan, hosted at The Villa in Beltsville on July 11, charged between $100 for general admission and $10,000 for platinum sponsors. Another, on Aug. 18, was held at a private residence in Annapolis and charged two prices, $500 and $1,000.

The Republican Governors Association has spent more than $2.2 million on independent expenditures to benefit Hogan — mainly on attack ads against Jealous.

For the last week the Hogan campaign has been saturating the state with at least $1 million in television ads touting his claim that he has made Maryland a more affordable place to live. Jealous has not yet purchased air time to counter the attacks against him or the positive spin on Hogan’s first term.

Kelso wrote that he considers Jealous and his running mate Susan Turnbull to be “formidable” fundraisers. But he predicted the incumbent governor would have about a $7 million cash advantage entering the post-Labor Day portion of the race.

“However,” he wrote, “should Jealous continue the impressive fundraising pace he demonstrated in the primary, we cannot let down our guard.”

On Monday, Kathleen Matthews, chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, sent out a fundraising email in response to Hogan’s announcement.

“I’m going to be honest with you — this is a large amount of money,” she wrote. “But while Larry Hogan’s wealthy special-interest allies are paying up to buy his support, I’m proud to say that Democrats are leading with our values by running a people-powered campaign.”

The Democrats’ fundraising drive featured a photo of the family of President Barack Obama marching with Georgia Congressman John Lewis and says, “Rise and Organize.”

luke.broadwater@baltsun.com

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