Democrat Theodore J. Sophocleus has spent more than $263,000 in his campaign for county executive. But a comparison with Republican Robert R.
Neall was impossible Friday, because the latter filed his campaign finance report by mail.
A report filed Friday with the state election board showed that Sophocleus has $19,828 on hand for the nine days leading up to the Nov. 6 election. That bankroll does not include proceeds from a $50-a-head fund raiser Wednesday that grossed as much as $45,000 before expenses.
But the money could pale in significance to the strength of a new round of endorsements Sophocleus won Wednesday from outgoing executive O. James Lighthizer and Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
"What this race is all about is a vision of the future in some tough economic times," Lighthizer said at the fund raiser. "The issue really is who has the most knowledge of county government, who can master the learning process fastest, and that's Ted."
Lighthizer's remarks directly challenged Neall's primary campaign strategy, which relies upon the perception that he is more competent to run the county under a possible recession and a cap on property tax revenues.
Schaefer also tapped into Sophocleus campaign' image as the "peoples' candidate," saying he was impressed by the local Democrat's advertisements and community support.
The governor changed his plans and left early from his own event in Towson Wednesday to promise a daily endorsement of Sophocleus.
The candidate's finance statement did not include scores of county senior housing residents that a report two months ago falsely listed as contributors. Sophocleus has explained the apparent violation as an attempt to give some "dignity" to supporters who attended his rallies and might have bought chances on raffles for donated cakes.
The report made no correction for the earlier filing, which contained many other reporting errors that Sophocleus blamed on the inexperience of his treasurer, his daughter Evangeline Taylor.
One of the "contributors" listed in the earlier report was a maternal uncle of Neall's, whose name was included with other seniors in a complaint to State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli.
Sophocleus campaign manager George Mills said he did not know why the report did not correct the earlier statement.
"I can't tell you, because (the prosecutor) hasn't touched base with us," he said.
The Neall report escaped scrutiny Friday because his campaign filed it by mail.
Days after accusing Sophocleus of fraud in August over "Cakegate," Neall amended his report to more accurately reflect documented expenses and revoke a lease-back arrangement by which the campaign reimbursed him for personal computer equipment.
During the most recent two-month reporting period, Sophocleus raised $57,932. That includes $32,840 in contributions, $14,400 in ticket sales.
$2,400 in out-of-state PACs and $1,600 in in-state PACs.
His largest expenditure was media advertising, which amounted to $22,589. That included $3,967 to Pivec Associates for cable television ads.
In-state political action committee money included $500 from Anne Arundel County Realtors, $400 from the Anne Arundel County Beverage Association, $200 from Associated Builders & Contractors of Maryland and $500 from B.U.I.L.D., a developer PAC.