County Executive Charles I. Ecker spent $6 per vote in his successful re-election bid, compared with the 88 cents per vote spent by his Democratic opponent, the latest campaign records show.
And those papers show that Mr. Ecker, who defeated Susan B. Gray by a 2-to-1 margin Nov. 8, raised twice as much in the two weeks before the election -- $43,246 -- as Ms. Gray raised during the entire campaign.
That last-minute flurry of contributions -- many from out of state -- ended the most expensive electoral season in county history.
Since his narrow victory over M. Elizabeth Bobo four years ago, Mr. Ecker raised $291,752.19 for his re-election bid -- most of it from business and development interests -- and spent $267,277 of it. His opponent, meanwhile, raised $21,968 and spent $21,883.
The most recent campaign reports, which cover the period Oct. 24 through Nov. 22, show Mr. Ecker receiving contributions from political professionals, local businesses and out-of-county corporations.
For example, pollster Brad Coker gave Mr. Ecker's campaign $900 seven days before the election -- and Mr. Coker is not known for picking losers. Four years ago, he came within 56 votes of predicting Mr. Ecker's 244-vote victory over M. Elizabeth Bobo.
Mr. Ecker also received $2,000 each from two West Virginia companies and another $4,000 -- the maximum an individual or corporation can give a candidate during a four-year period -- from Rockville Development Corp., a Gaithersburg-based developer.
He also received $2,000 from a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company; $2,000 from Real Estate Industry Action, a political action committee; and $1,000 each from a Washington firm, an Aberdeen, company, and Howard County-based Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Turf Valley Country Club returned an $8,171.50 check that Mr. Ecker's campaign treasurer had sent the Marriottsville establishment in payment for a fund-raiser. That returned check is listed as an "in-kind" political contribution.
The county executive's campaign coffers were so flush that he gave $5,831 to Democrats for Ecker, a political action committee formed by former state Senate President James Clark Jr. and former County Administrator Buddy Roogow.
Ms. Gray's biggest contributor in the two weeks before the election was American Pool Service of Beltsville, which gave her $500. She also received $200 former County Councilman Lloyd Knowles. Mr. Knowles is Ms. Bobo's spouse. Ms. Gray received $3,763 in the two weeks before the election.
If money alone were the secret of electoral success, retired business executive Riaz H. Rana would be joining the council Monday as the west Columbia representative instead of Democrat Mary C. Lorsung.
Mr. Rana, a Republican who refused to accept contributions from the public, poured $78,253 into his campaign. He spent all but $58 of it, yet lost to Ms. Lorsung by 1,885 votes in a 13,000-vote race. He spent $13.87 per vote -- the most of any candidate for local government.
Ms. Lorsung, by contrast, spent only $7,212 on her campaign, which works out to 96 cents per vote. In the most recent reporting period, she raised $879 and spent $1,433 while Mr. Rana added $22,617 to his treasury and spent $29,722.
The most frugal County Council candidate in terms of cost per vote was Republican Evelyn L. Tanner. She spent 88 cents per vote -- a total of $4,498 -- in her losing run against Democratic Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray for the east Columbia council seat. Mr. Gray, by contrast, spent $11 a vote, raising $82,697 and spending $81,080 -- the most of any council candidate.
Democrat George L. Layman raised the least of any council candidate -- $4,493 -- and spent it all in his failed effort against Republican incumbent Darrel Drown in the Ellicott City-Elkridge district. Mr. Drown raised $21,780 and spent $18,685 -- $2 per vote -- in his race against Mr. Layman. The Layman expenditures amounted to 98 cents per vote.
Republican Charles C. Feaga, a two-term incumbent who thought he might be in trouble against slow-growth advocate John W. Taylor, received contributions of $1,000 or more from four members of the development community in the two weeks prior to the election. They were: Kennard Warfield, $1,200; Sargent Development Corp., $1,200; Lowrie Sargent, $1,000; and Real Estate Industry PAC, $1,500.
In all, Mr. Feaga received $68,722 and spent $63,722 -- $5.62 per vote -- to defeat his Democratic rival. Mr. Taylor raised $13,545 -- including a $2,000 loan to himself Nov. 2 -- and spent $12,866 or $2.27 per vote.
The newest Republican on the council, Dennis Schrader, raised $34,625 and spent $34,598 in his run against Democrat Charles A. Acquard for the seat representing the Savage-North Laurel and southeast Columbia areas. Mr. Schrader's cost per winning vote was $5.91. Mr. Acquard raised $12,056 and spent $11,946 or $2.36 per vote.