Last-minute Contributions Swelled Ecker's War Chest Winner Raised $23,172 In Final Two Weeks

December 02, 1990|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff writer

In the last two weeks prior to the election, County Executive-elect Charles I. Ecker did something he had never done before.

He received more money than incumbent M. Elizabeth Bobo -- substantially more. According to financial reports filed Tuesday, Ecker raised $23,172 to Bobo's $6,435.

Even if the $10,000 he lent himself is subtracted -- he lent his campaign $30,000 overall -- Ecker still raised more than twice what Bobo raised in the same period.

To do so, he needed help from the Howard County Home Builders, which gave him $4,326, and the local Republican state Central Committee, which gave him $1,100. Also included in Ecker's total was an in-kind contribution of $1,724 from developer Patrick McCuan, who donated office space.

Overall, Ecker raised $85,253 for his campaign, including the $30,000 he lent himself. More than half that amount -- $48,205 -- was raised after the primary, and nearly a third of it -- the $23,172 -- came in the last two weeks.

By contrast, Bobo raised most of her $156,285 early. The $50,116 she raised after the Sept. 11 primary was only 32 percent of her total.

The candidates' financing parallels the election itself, which Ecker won by a mere 450 votes.

Bobo, originally thought to be unbeatable, raised most of her money early. Ecker, seen initially as having virtually no chance, raised his money late. From the time of Ecker's primary victory until the general election, Bobo took in only $1,911 more than Ecker.

Expenses tell a similar story the last two weeks of the campaign. Ecker spent $27,173 during that period to Bobo's $24,816 -- $8,000 of which she gave to the state Democratic party. However, in the eight weeks following Ecker's primary victory, Bobo outspent him $67,741 to $42,680.

Overall, Bobo spent 54 percent more than Ecker: $128,011 to $82,961.

That amounts to $4.91 per vote for Bobo and $3.13 per vote for Ecker. Their balance sheets following the election showed Ecker with $2,292 left over and Bobo with $28,273 remaining.

Ecker, however, listed unpaid bills of $8,877, not including the $30,000 debt to himself. Bobo showed no debts.

She had $6,939 in her campaign checking account and $21,339 in her campaign savings account -- money which can be given to charity, transferred to another political committee, given to the party central committee or used to finance another Bobo campaign.

Like Ecker, 2nd District County Councilman-elect Darrel Drown raised more than twice as much as his opponent, Democratic incumbent Angela Beltram, in the two weeks prior to the election, but less overall.

Unlike Ecker, Drown won overwhelmingly. Still, he and Beltram both needed loans to finance their campaigns. Drown received $2,500 from his wife to bring his two-week total to $5,840. And Beltram and her husband made a joint loan of $2,000 to her campaign to bring her two-week total to $2,635. Overall, Beltram raised $29,428 to Drown's $22,962.

Beltram outspent Drown $8,981 to $6,991 in the two weeks prior to the election, and overall by $6,657 -- $28,085 to $21,428. That amounts to $4.82 per vote for Beltram and $2.76 per vote for Drown.

Beltram showed a balance of $1,343 in her account following the election, not including her loans. Drown showed a balance of $1,537, not including his.

Like Ecker and Drown, Republican Dennis Schrader also received twice as much income as his opponent -- $4,696 to $2,011 -- in the two weeks before the election, although the end result was different. Incumbent County Council chairman Shane Pendergrass defeated Schrader in the 1st District race by 282 votes.

Overall, Pendergrass, who had to win the primary to get to the general election, raised $33,539 and spent $30,580 -- $5.65 per vote -- with $2,960 left over and no bills or loans outstanding. Schrader, with no primary opposition, raised $25,728 and spent $24,553 -- $5.01 per vote -- leaving him a balance of $1,175, not including an unpaid personal loan of $1,036.

Democrat D. Susan Scheidt was another who lost despite raising more than her opponent in the last two weeks, $1,595 to $575, in the 5th District council race.

That was the only time she did so, however. Incumbent Charles C. Feaga, who had primary opposition, raised more than three times overall what Scheidt raised, $44,474 to $13,260. He also spent more than three times as much -- $42,620 to $13,252. His cost per vote was nearly twice as much as Scheidt's, $6.41 to $3.30.

Feaga ended the campaign with a cash balance of $1,853. Scheidt had a balance of $8, not including unpaid personal loans of $3,750.

The 4th District race was the least expensive of all the council races, with incumbent Paul R. Farragut raising $11,640 overall and spending $10,546, which was about eight times what his opponent, Michael J. Deets, raised and spent. Deets raised $1,324 and spent all of it. Even so, his cost per vote was higher than Farragut's, Deets having spent $2.24 to Farragut's $1.81. Farragut ended the campaign with a balance of $1,094.

C. Vernon Gray, who spent the most per vote among Democratic council members -- $5.97 -- was also the only incumbent to run without opposition in either the primary or the general election.

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