Republican John R. Leopold returned more money to contributors to his District 31 Senate race than he collected during the last two months.
Campaign finance statements released Friday show that Leopold had received $1,560 from supporters since Aug. 26. But he returned more than $2,200 to three earlier contributors who requested their money back.
Still, Leopold has raised nearly twice as much as incumbent Democrat Philip C. Jimeno. Finance statements show Leopold, a two-term state delegate, has raised a total of $165,024.
Jimeno has raised $85,558, including $44,855 during the last two months.
In a fund-raising frenzy, the senator garnered $14,350 from the political coffers of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, County Executive O. James Lighthizer and other Democratic officials. He collected $11,250 from political action committees.
A $50-a-ticket event earlier this month at state Sen. Michael Wagner's Glen Burnie catering hall netted Jimeno an additional $13,225.
"The toughest part about this race is raising money," Jimeno said. "It's an embarrassment to do it. But we had two choices: either roll over and play dead or seek money and make it a competitive race.
"We had a lot of people across the state soliciting money for us. I don't know where it all came from."
Leopold raised more than $160,000 while campaigning the last three years for county executive. After deciding he could not win the GOP primary, he entered the Senate race.
Tom Redmond, a Pasadena Republican and tow truck operator, sent 500 letters late last month to Leopold's largest contributors, encouraging them to ask for their money back. Redmond, who had given Leopold $1,500 to run for county executive, asked for, and received, his money back because, he said, the candidate "misled" him.
Leopold said early last week that a half dozen contributors have requested their money back after receiving Redmond's letter. Leopold could not be reached for comment Friday.
After a debate Thursday at the Eastern District Police Station in Pasadena, Leopold said Jimeno should include the postage costs for Redmond's letters as an in-kind contribution on his finance statements.
Also at the debate, Leopold noted that Jimeno has received more PAC money than he has. PACs have given the senator a total of $22,150, while the delegate has received $7,825. Jimeno responded that Leopold's campaign coffers were swelled by several $1,000 contributions from county developers during his aborted campaign for executive.
Leopold's finance statement shows the Maryland GOP Senate-House Committee have given him $1,000 since August. The Republican Women of Anne Arundel County donated $150.
The delegate, who spent $30,000 on newspaper and television advertising in August, has since paid out $20,000 to newspapers and $10,000 on direct mail. He also paid $3,700 to Pasadena Handyman to erect campaign signs. He has $20,048 remaining for a final push before the Nov. 6 election.
The senator has responded, spending $9,000 for his cable TV ads and $20,000 to pay the caterer at his fund-raising event. Jimeno has $26,867 remaining, which he said is earmarked for direct mail, radio and newspaper advertising.