Republican John Leopold lent himself $9,000 two weeks before the Nov. 6 election as a cushion in his campaign for the District 31 Senate seat.
"I did that in case I needed to do something at the last minute," said Leopold, a two-term state delegate. "Ironically, I didn't think I needed to do anything and never spent any of it."
After trailing throughout the five-month-long campaign, incumbent Democrat Philip C. Jimeno surged ahead of Leopold on election day, capturing 56 percent of the vote to Leopold's 44 percent.
Campaign finance reports due at the state Administrative Board of Elections yesterday show Leopold outspent his rival 2-1 through the campaign.
Records show Leopold spent $169,537 of the $174,734 he raised. He spent about $17,000 in the final two weeks on radio spots, campaign posters and direct mail advertising. He also spent $2,400 on a Mason-Dixon Poll that showed him 6 percentage points ahead of Jimeno in mid-October.
Leopold returned $3,800 to 10 contributors who asked for their money back. He has returned a total $6,200 since a former Leopold supporter, disappointed that the delegate dropped his earlier bid for county executive to run for the Senate, asked for his money back in September and urged others to do the same.
Jimeno's finance report was unavailable. The senator said the report had been mailed yesterday, which is acceptable under reporting requirements.
Jimeno said he had raised approximately $90,000 by the election and spent all but about $6,000. He must still pay for telephone banks used in the final push and other minor expenses, he said.
Leopold, who has not spoken to Jimeno since the election, said the difference in the campaign may not appear on the campaign finance reports.
The decisive blow may have been a last-minute surge in promotions by the Maryland Democratic Party on Jimeno's behalf, he said.
In particular, the party mailed a glossy brochure to voters, charging that Leopold had missed 130 votes in the House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee over the past eight years. The literature included a picture of an empty desk and chair with Leopold's nameplate.
Leopold said the missed ballots accounted for only 4 percent of the total votes taken by his committee.
"The Democratic hierarchy and political machine launched a heavy barrage of distortions and lies," said Leopold. "It was a blatant distortion of my attendance record. The number of votes was insignificant."
He said he believes the brochures -- and similar radio spots -- cost him the election.
"There were no distortions and no lies," Jimeno countered. "The only lies were from John in failing to accurately respond to the attendance issue.
"I guess he's desperate after raising all that money and losing by such a wide margin. He says lies and distortions when he should be saying 'congratulations, Senator Jimeno.' "