Money spent on Baltimore's mayoral race tripled amount from past campaigns

Candidates, PACs spent about $9 million during Baltimore mayor's race.

As spending reports from this year's Baltimore mayoral race continue to be filed, one thing's clear: It's been an expensive campaign season.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, the Democratic candidates competing to replace Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — and the political action committees that support them — have spent about $9 million, mostly during April's primary election.

That's nearly triple what was spent during other recent mayoral campaigns. During the 2011 campaign, which Rawlings-Blake won, the four leading candidates spent about $3.3 million. During the 2007 campaign, Democratic candidates spent less than $3 million.

This year, both state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, who won April's Democratic primary, and businessman David L. Warnock, who finished fourth, spent well over $2 million each.

Warnock reported more than $2.7 million in expenditures, including nearly $2 million he loaned his campaign. Pugh has spent about $2.5 million, and has about $300,000 on hand as she tries to win November's general election.

Pugh's report also shows she was loaned $315,000, including $100,000 from the Baltimore County Victory Slate, in the final days of her effort to defeat former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the primary. The Baltimore County Victory Slate is funded by former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith's campaign account. Pugh has repaid the loans.

Dixon, who finished second in the Democratic primary and is now running a write-in campaign, spent more than $1.2 million during the primary. She has less than $5,000 in her campaign account but plans to begin raising money again. She announced her write-in campaign on Tuesday.

Other Democrats who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their campaigns were lawyer Elizabeth Embry, who spent about $650,000; City Councilman Nick J. Mosby, who spent nearly $400,000; and City Councilman Carl Stokes and activist DeRay Mckesson, who each spent more than $300,000.

Four political action committees — who supported Pugh, Dixon, Embry and Stokes, respectively — spent more than $800,000 combined.

Pugh and Dixon are running against Republican Alan Walden and Green Party nominee Joshua Harris in the general election.

Together, Harris and Walden have spent about $10,000 to date.

Individuals and businesses can donate up to $6,000 to each candidate during a four-year election cycle in Maryland. Developers who rely on taxpayer support for their projects and companies that do business with the city are often among the biggest donors.

For instance, members of the Paterakis family, which developed Harbor East, have contributed more than $50,000 this year to Pugh and Dixon.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

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