Harford County Executive David R. Craig, one of the leading Republican prospects in the 2014 gubernatorial race, reported Thursday that he raised about half as much money as his chief rival for the nomination.
Craig's disclosure, filed more than nine hours after Wednesday night's deadline, showed that he raised $232,283 last year and has $202,236 in cash on hand. His totals lag behind those of Blaine Young, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, who reported early this week that he raised $445,651 and has $341,936 in the bank.
The Harford executive issued a statement in which he said he spent much of last year helping GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican congressional candidates.
"Until now we have been running a light operation realizing that the party's full efforts and finances needed to be invested in the recent national election, however I am confident that the work we accomplished this year, both in terms of fundraising and relationship development will position me as a contender for any office I choose to seek," Craig said.
In an interview, Young said he too had been working for other GOP candidates last year. He said he was "elated" by his fundraising totals but insisted that Craig was still the front-runner in the race.
"I've always said that I'm the underdog Ã‚â€“ nobody from nowhere," he said. "I'll be the underdog in the primary. I'll be the underdog in the general [election]."
Young said he will make a final decision on the governor's race by late this year. He said he's still keeping open the options of running for the newly created office of Frederick County executive or not running for anything. Young, 41, is a favorite of the more conservative wing of the GOP, while Craig, 63, is seen as a relative moderate.
Joshua A. Wolf, Craig's political aide, said the campaign's filing was delayed by "extreme" technological difficulties. Of the six office-holders -- Republican and Democratic -- known to be considering a race for governor, Craig was the only one to miss the deadline. In his statement, Craig said his campaign will have to file additional information with the State Board of Elections. He said the campaign is working with its contractor and the board to fix the problems. Young declined to criticize Craig over the late filing, saying he accepted his rival's explanation.
Neither man is an announced candidate, though Young had signs at the Republican state convention openly advertising a run for governor.
"I've been very out front that this is what I want to do," Young said.
The amounts raised by the two Republicans pale besides those reported by the leading Democratic prospects. Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Douglas M. Gansler and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman each raised more than $1 million.
Other names have been suggested as possible GOP candidates, but there are no signs that anyone but Craig and Young are raising the money it would take to run for governor.