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Politics

Maryland governor candidates open their ledgers on the lengthy money race that helps them lure voters

As Maryland primary voters begin receiving ballots by mail this week, several of the leading candidates for governor reported having sizable war chests to continue using on television ads and other efforts in their bids to win over voters ahead of the July 19 primary.

Wes Moore, among the front-runners in the Democratic primary, reported having $1,759,000 on hand as of June 7. His running mate, former Del. Aruna Miller, had $351,000 in a separate campaign committee, bringing the ticket’s total up to about $2.1 million — the most of any candidate who had revealed their fundraising and spending by the 11:59 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

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Moore, an author and former nonprofit organization leader, had been the leading fundraiser in the crowded race when candidates last reported their finances in January. The political newcomer has kept pace in the last six months, raising roughly $2.5 million to bring his total amount raised to $7.3 million since he became a candidate last year.

“Every single one of us should be remarkably proud because this is a journey we have all made together,” Moore told donors during a virtual fundraiser Tuesday night featuring Oprah Winfrey. “And without each and every one of you, we would not be positioned where we are right now, which is we are five weeks away from being on pace to win.”

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Many of the candidates, including Moore, have been running television ads across the state for weeks in a tight race where no candidate has pulled far ahead of the pack.

A poll of likely primary voters conducted by The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore from late May to early June placed Moore at 15% — second among what was then a field of 10 Democrats. Comptroller Peter Franchot led the race with support from 20% of Democratic voters, while former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez nipped at Moore’s heels with 13%.

Franchot and his running mate, former Prince George’s County Councilmember Monique Anderson-Walker, had the second-largest war chest behind Moore. They reported having roughly $1,624,000 on hand between their three committees, according to reports updated as of noon Wednesday.

Now, nine Democrats are running. Former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern l. Baker III, who came in fourth in the poll with 7% of the support from surveyed Democrats, suspended his campaign on Friday, citing its financial struggles. His latest campaign finance report indicated he had just under $12,000 left on June 7.

Perez and his running mate, former Baltimore City Councilmember Shannon Sneed, filed reports for three committees that had a combined $1.2 million on hand as of June 7.

A former federal official and Democratic National Committee chair, Perez has racked up endorsements from organized labor in addition to the support of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

His campaign committee reported having $375,000 on hand while Sneed’s committee had $247,800 and another combined committee had $577,000. They raised a combined $1.5 million since mid-January and $4 million total for the current election cycle.

”I’m so appreciative for the generous support from all those who believe in us, including unprecedented backing from labor and working families, who trust my long career in public service, working to expand opportunity and promote justice, and delivering for Marylanders,” Perez said in a statement.

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On the Republican side, Kelly Schulz, the front-runner in the Republican primary who is endorsed by outgoing GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, far out-raised her opponents, the filings show.

Schulz and her running mate, Jeff Woolford, reported having $784,985 on hand after raising nearly $936,000 since January.

Del. Dan Cox, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and Cox’s running mate, attorney Gordana Schifanelli, reported having around $184,000 between two committees. Cox, who was six-points behind Schultz in the Baltimore Sun Media and University of Baltimore’s poll, reported raising about $170,000 and personally loaning his campaign $17,100 on June 7, the last day of the filing period. He described that loan as expenses for mileage, fuel and other expenses for “vehicles at federal rate.”



Cash on hand

Reports filed this week show how much leading gubernatorial candidates and their running mates had as of June 7.



As for the rest of the Democratic slate, former U.S. Department of Education Secretary John B. King, former Clinton White House official Jon Baron and former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler reported large amounts of cash on hand.

Baron reported having $1,618,180, mostly because of a $1.7 million personal loan he gave his campaign.

King and his running mate, Michelle Siri, former executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, reported having $827,781. According to a campaign news release, roughly $300,000 came within the past two weeks after he received endorsements from the Sierra Club and Pro-Choice Maryland Action.

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Gansler and his running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, brought in over $1 million since January’s filing deadline, mostly because of a $800,000 personal loan Gansler gave his committee in April, according to his report. They had $1,067,020 left on hand.

Gansler garnered 4% of support among likely Democratic voters surveyed in the Baltimore Sun Media and University of Baltimore poll. Others who have been polling in the lower single digits raised and had considerably less cash on hand.

Former Obama White House official Ashwani Jain, who earlier met his original campaign finance goal of raising $100,000, reported having $20,775 left ahead of the July primary.

Academic and Bread and Roses Party founder Jerome Segal reported $4,878.

Perennial Republican candidate Robin Ficker reported having $326,891 on hand after personally loaning his campaign just under $1.2 million.

Among the lowest earners were Democratic candidate and teacher, Ralph Jaffe, and Republican candidate and attorney, Joe Werner. Jaffe filed an affidavit stating he hadn’t raised more than $1,000 during this reporting period. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections campaign finance database, Werner has yet to file anything.

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The Maryland State Board of Elections said Monday it had mailed out some 400,000 mail-in ballots already. Voters can request mail-in ballots until July 12. Early voting in-person begins July 7.

For the record

This article has been updated to show the Kelly Schulz gubernatorial campaign had $784,985 as of June 7. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.


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