O'Malley, Ehrlich step up media spending

The two leading candidates for Maryland governor have together spent nearly $10 million on television advertising and other media — with many of the expenditures logged in the past month and a half, according to campaign finance reports made public Saturday.

Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has spent more than twice as much on media as his Republican challenger, former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. Recent polls, including one published today by The Baltimore Sun, show O'Malley with a lead that political observers have attributed partly to his dominance on TV.

Ehrlich paid more than $2.6 million for media in the past month and a half, his campaign finance report shows. Before this reporting period, he'd spent roughly $100,000 on media since announcing his election bid in April.

By contrast, O'Malley has steadily invested in media throughout the election season. From the beginning of the year through early September, O'Malley spent about $1 million on advertising and other media outreach. The report out Saturday shows he spent another $6 million on media in the past month and a half.

Reports for all statewide and local candidates were due Friday night to the State Board of Elections. They provide the final look at campaign finances before Election Day.

Ehrlich raised $2.8 million — about $1 million more than O'Malley — during this reporting period, and had slightly more in the bank as of a week ago, when the period closed. At that point, Ehrlich and running mate Mary Kane nearly $1.8 million on hand, while O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown had about $1.1 million available.

O'Malley used a joint campaign account with Brown to pay for media expenses this reporting period. O'Malley's solo account shows he had spent about $450,000 on salaries for campaign employees and about $165,000 on field expenses and fund-raising events. Together, he and Brown spent at least $200,000 on direct mailings to voters, the reports show.

On the contribution side, O'Malley accepted $30,000 from Maryland Political Action Committees, about $23,000 from federal committees, $24,000 from political committees in other states and $18,000 from other Maryland candidates for office.

Ehrlich's report showed similar numbers in both columns, though it appears local candidates and political groups chipped in more for the Republican.

He accepted about $62,000 from Maryland Political Action Committees, about $16,000 from federal committees, about $15,000 from political committees in other states and about $24,000 from other Maryland political candidates.

Ehrlich spent more than $400,000 on campaign employees' salaries, about $300,000 on direct mailings to voters and about $165,000 on field expenses and fund-raising events.

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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