The latest campaign-finance reports illustrate the stark differences in the Howard County state's attorney race -- one candidate has tapped the local legal community for support while the other is paying his own way.
The race features Democrat Dario J. Broccolino, a self-described outsider, against Republican Marna McLendon, who has strong ties to the county's legal establishment.
Of the $30,016 raised by Mr. Broccolino, $20,000 came from a personal loan and at least $5,000 more from donations from himself and his family.
Mr. Broccolino said he expects to lend his campaign an additional $20,000 in the final days before the general election Tuesday.
The state's attorney's job pays $84,800 a year.
In contrast, Ms. McLendon has raised $26,610 -- mainly through smaller donations from lawyers in the county. She also initially lent her campaign $8,036.
Both candidates said the different sources of their campaign funds represent yet another demonstration of the main issue in the race: Ms. McLendon emphasizes her extensive work within the county's legal community, while Mr. Broccolino touts his legal background outside the county as an indication of the independence he could bring to the office.
"It shows that I've been working in this county for 20 years, both professionally and personally, and Dario hasn't," said Ms. McLendon, a former police officer, prosecutor and assistant county solicitor. "I just think a lot of the community backing and support is there because I've been around so long doing things."
Countered Mr. Broccolino, a former Baltimore prosecutor and current coordinator of the Maryland State's Attorneys Association: "One of the strengths I would bring to the office is that I'm not networked into the community, and this proves it. This affords me a level of independence that I don't think anybody else has."
At the same time, Mr. Broccolino said, personally financing a large part of his campaign represents a huge risk that's making him nervous.
Through Oct. 23, Mr. Broccolino had spent $28,769 and Ms. McLendon had paid out $23,758, according to the latest campaign-finance reports they've filed -- their last before the general election.
Mr. Broccolino said he will use his additional $20,000 personal loan to finance a last-minute direct mailing to 28,000 homes in the county.
"We're just trying to get the message out," Mr. Broccolino said. "But the amount of money turns my stomach. . . . It has caused me a lot of sleepless nights.
"All of this money is a hell of a roll of the dice. I've got enough left now to pay my daughter's tuition and keep a much-needed roof over our heads," he said.
Ms. McLendon said she will plans to spend a total of $30,000 on the campaign.
She added that she could not imagine spending as much of her own money on the race as her opponent has done. "I'm surprised by how much he's loaned to his campaign," she said.
In other courthouse races, incumbents have raised far more money than their challengers:
* With almost $20,000 raised through the latest campaign filing, Sheriff Michael A. Chiuchiolo will far outspend his Republican challenger, Richmond Laney.
Mr. Laney, a U.S. Army reserve captain and member of the state Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, has promised to spend almost nothing on his campaign by signing an affidavit with the county elections board committing himself to a $300 expense limit.
Mr. Chiuchiolo has accumulated a large treasury through $50 and $100 donations as well as $5,500 in 1993 and 1994 from a political action committee formed to support himself and Thomas M. Yeager, who lost in the Democratic primary for the District 13 Senate seat.
Included in Mr. Chiuchiolo's fund raising was a $25-a-plate dinner at the Lions Club building in Ellicott City Sept. 30 that netted the campaign nearly $2,000.
Mr. Chiuchiolo had spent $15,024 on his campaign through Oct. 23.
* Incumbent Republican Margaret Duly Rappaport has almost triple the money raised by Democrat Leslie Jean Cale in the race for clerk of Circuit Court.
Mrs. Rappaport, who was elected clerk in 1990 and is a former Orphan's Court judge, has accumulated $14,082 and spent $12,792. Ms. Cale, a courtroom reporter, has raised $5,197 and spent $4,521.
* The money raised by incumbent Register of Wills Kay K. Hartleb is more than four times the amount collected by Republican challenger Catherine Walters.
Mrs. Hartleb, who was first elected register of wills in 1986, has collected $4,710 and spent $2,278. Mrs. Walters, who was an Orphan's Court judge until resigning in May to run for register, has raised $1,085 and spent $874.