Mary Pat Clarke has raised $591,082 in her challenge to Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and has $90,766 on hand as the race heads into its final month, according to her most recent campaign finance report.
Clarke campaign officials released the statement yesterday -- a day before it was due -- to underscore the viability of her uphill fight against the two-term incumbent and to lay to rest any lingering concerns about the accuracy and completeness of her reports.
Mrs. Clarke, the City Council president, has collected enough so far to keep the campaign on track to meet its goal of $700,000, said Cheryl Benton, her chief political strategist.
"We will have enough money to finish this campaign just like we want to," she said.
The Schmoke campaign said it would file its required disclosure statement by today's 5 p.m. deadline and declined to comment on the amount Mrs. Clarke has raised. As of January, the mayor's re-election committee had $251,225 on hand from $2.1 million raised in the four-year reporting period that ended in December.
Even though Ms. Benton refused to speculate on how much Mr. Schmoke has raised, she has made clear in the past that she expects his campaign to outspend Mrs. Clarke by a 3-1 margin.
The release of the Clarke report comes after a revived controversy over campaign finance ethics. Last week, Mrs. Clarke's campaign called into question more than $200,000 in payments to unidentified Schmoke campaign workers. The Kurt Schmoke Committee promptly tried to shift attention back to her reports by asking the state prosecutor to investigate whether all the Clarke campaign payments were proper.
It was an escalation of the unexpected clash that started the mayoral race. In April, the Schmoke campaign sought to make deficiencies in Mrs. Clarke's previous finance statements a major issue. Mrs. Clarke amended her past reports in June to correct what she described as minor bookkeeping mistakes and closed out that campaign committee.
The report from her new committee includes some previously released expenses -- from $5 church donations to $25 political contributions -- for which Mrs. Clarke reimbursed herself.
It also documents the salaries of Ms. Benton and three other campaign workers. The Clarke campaign has called on Mr. Schmoke to disclose the payments to his campaign staff that were previously listed as part of a general payroll account.
One of Mrs. Clarke's largest expenditures was $90,000 to buy time for two television commercials that kept her on the air for two weeks earlier this month. The Clarke campaign also spent about $45,000 to produce the TV ads.
The report offered no explanation for a $190 check made out to the company of Mrs. Clarke's husband. Campaign treasurer S. Ronald Ellison said it was a reimbursement for telephone equipment for the Clarke headquarters in a Charles Village rowhouse.
The Clarke campaign listed contributions from about 2,000 individuals, companies and political action committees.
Among them were $5,000 from the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors PAC and $3,300 from the city's police union, both of which have endorsed Mrs. Clarke's candidacy.
Other well-known contributors include Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., who was ousted as head of the city's tourism board in a highly public dispute with Mr. Schmoke. Mr. Rosenberg gave Mrs. Clarke $1,000 and his company, Crown Central Petroleum, contributed another $1,000.
Also listed as contributors are contractor Willard Hackerman, owner of the Pulaski Highway incinerator, $1,000; Baltimore Museum of Art Director Arnold L. Lehman and his wife, Pamela, $850; and Douglas L. Becker, head of Sylvan Learning Systems, $750.
Diamond Comic Distributors and Hammerjack's nightclub each gave Mrs. Clarke $1,000; landlord Stanley E. Sugarman contributed $600; and H&S Bakery gave $250, according to the report.