Two Baltimore mayoral candidates say they raised more than $1 million by the close of the first campaign finance reporting period.
Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s campaign said Thursday it raised more than $1.1 million, with $954,000 cash on hand. Former Deputy Maryland Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, also a Democrat, said he’s raised more than $1 million and will report having about $825,000 on hand.
Young campaign spokesman Myles Handy said the mayor’s numbers show people have faith in his leadership.
“We’re looking forward to using the money to keep spreading the message of reducing crime, cleaning up the city and investing in youth,” Handy said.
The Young campaign did not disclose a list of donors. In October, Young’s campaign reported raising more than $250,000 in one week from business leaders. His most recent public filing, from January 2019, showed Young had $599,279 on hand. At the time, Young was City Council president. Since then, Handy said, Young has raised about a half million dollars.
Young became mayor in May when Democrat Catherine Pugh resigned in disgrace amid a criminal investigation into her sales of self-published books.
Candidates do not have to file updated fundraising reports until midnight Wednesday.
Vignarajah, a former city prosecutor who is running in the April 28 primary on a message of fighting crime, was the first candidate in the field to begin airing television advertisements. He also has paid for billboard ads.
According to a memo sent to supporters Thursday by Vignarajah’s chief of staff, Maggie Gratz, and Deputy Campaign Manager Wil Hughes, the funds will “allow us to continue relentlessly spreading our message" through “TV, social media, and mass visual advertising, as well as an unprecedented door-knocking program.”
According to Gratz’s memo, Vignarajah’s notable donors include Thurgood Marshall Jr.; Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony Pictures; former Maryland Attorney General Steve Sachs, and John and Laura Arnold, philanthropists who have offered to fund surveillance planes to fly over Baltimore and gather images for city police.
Vignarajah’s campaign said the total does not include any loans.
Vignarajah ran in 2018 for the Democratic nomination for state’s attorney of Baltimore, finishing third. He ended that campaign with $1,700 in the bank, according to a campaign finance filing. By January 2019, he filed an affidavit with the state elections board saying he hadn’t raised more than $1,000 since the earlier campaign.
Also among the candidates in the primary are City Council President Brandon Scott, former Mayor Sheila Dixon and former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith, all of whom have announced their candidacies ahead of a Jan. 24 filing deadline. Mary Miller, a former T. Rowe Price executive and acting deputy treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, held her campaign kickoff Tuesday. State Sen. Mary Washington already has filed to run.
As of the most recent campaign filing deadline in January 2019, Scott had $143,039. He was a City Council member at the time; he successfully sought votes from his fellow councilmembers to replace Young in leading the body.