Republican Anne Arundel County Council member Jessica Haire spent more than $2.2 million over the past two years on her failed bid to defeat incumbent County Executive Steuart Pittman, campaign finance documents show.
Pittman, a Democrat, spent about $1.6 million on the race over the same period, from January 2021 through Nov. 15, according to the finance reports. He won reelection by more than 15,000 votes over Haire, a first-term legislator from Edgewater, thanks to a wave of support among mail-in voters. Pitttman will be inaugurated for his second four-year term on Dec. 5 at Crownsville Hospital Park.
Haire spent about $341,000 from Oct. 24 to Nov. 15, according to the final round of campaign documents filed last week. Pittman spent about $379,000 in that same time as both candidates flooded the airwaves with television and radio advertisements and distributed print mailers in the final weeks of the closely watched election. Overall, Haire outspent Pittman by more than $640,000 dating to January 2021.
In the final three weeks of the campaign, Haire also outraised the Democratic incumbent $133,000 to $119,000. She had $2.2 million in contributions since the start of 2021, not including a $500,000 loan she gave her campaign last year. Pittman, who had more than $240,000 left from his 2018 campaign at the start of last year, raised roughly $1.4 million in the ensuing two years.
Haire received a series of controversial donations totaling around $250,0000 from a Silver Spring developer and its employees and families. The developer has been working to get a rubble landfill built in Odenton for the past 30 years. During the campaign, Haire and Pittman said they did not support the proposed landfill.
Pittman spent no personal funds on his campaign, according to finance reports. He did receive a $2,500 donation from Conifer Realty that Haire criticized after Pittman supported legislation giving the real estate company a tax break in exchange for building affordable housing units in Odenton.
Both candidates filed for the county executive office around the end of 2021, Pittman in early December and Haire in November after she formed an exploratory committee to assess whether she would have a chance at winning.
In 2021, Haire raised around $817,000 while Pittman raised about $408,000. This year she raised about $1.36 million compared with $1 million for Pittman. While Haire’s total fundraising eclipsed $2 million, she needed to use money to defeat four Republican challengers in the July primary. Pittman had no primary challengers.
After all the spending, Haire has about $20,000 in her campaign account and Pittman has about $8,000 left.
Candidates’ campaign finance reports will be audited by the Maryland State Board of Elections to ensure all donations were legitimate and within state guidelines.
Jared DeMarinis, director of candidacy and campaign finance for the state board, said the audit will take place in the spring.