Mayor's campaign funds likely dwarf opponent's

O'Malley has balance of $753,248 in treasury, slightly less than in Feb.

October 24, 2004|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

The campaign to re-elect Mayor Martin O'Malley spent slightly more than it raised over the past eight months, doling out money for standard election-year expenses and steering cash to other candidates and causes, according to the mayor's most recent campaign finance report.

The mayor's campaign committee, Friends of Martin O'Malley, reported Friday a cash balance of $753,248, which is nearly $34,000 less than the cash he had on hand in February. The campaign raised $307,437 during the eight-month reporting period and spent $341,254.

While the reports of other candidates were not available Friday and yesterday, O'Malley's campaign coffers are expected to dwarf the amounts raised by his Republican opponent, Elbert "Ray" Henderson, and to far outdistance amounts raised by candidates in City Council races.

"I'm not trying to beat that," said Henderson, who referred questions about his fund raising to staffers, who did not return calls. "Everyone has the impression that I'm running against O'Malley. That's false. I'm running for the people of Baltimore."

Shortly before last year's Democratic primary, O'Malley's campaign reported a balance of slightly more than $2 million, according to reports filed with the Maryland Board of Elections. His fund-raising success last year impressed many political observers, and the highlight was the $4,000-a-head VIP portion of a May 14, 2003, event at M&T Bank Stadium. He raised $1.6 million that night, accounting for nearly the entire $1.9 million he raised last year.

O'Malley spent nearly $1.5 million in his campaign against Andrey Bundley before easily winning the Sept. 9, 2003, primary.

O'Malley's more subdued campaign finance activity this year is likely a reflection of last year's fund-raising success, when many of his well-heeled supporters gave $4,000, the maximum allowed by law. It also reflects the nature of elections in Baltimore.

General elections are less contested than Democratic primaries in Baltimore because Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans in the city. The competitive primaries also led O'Malley to lavish $57,000 upon 10 victorious City Council incumbents last year. This year, however, the only council member to receive a contribution was 5th District incumbent Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, whose campaign got $3,000 from O'Malley's on Aug. 25.

While the mayor also gave more than $250 to three Democratic state delegates - James E. Malone Jr., Emmett C. Burns Jr. and Brian K. McHale - the elected official who received the most from O'Malley in the period was Del. Obie Patterson. O'Malley contributed $2,500 to the Prince George's Democrat and former chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The bulk of O'Malley's expenses went to catering services, fund-raising efforts by Martin-Lauer Associates and salaries for campaign staff - especially his chairman and brother, Peter O'Malley. But the mayor also spent money on some heavy-hitting national campaign consultants. He paid $3,500 to consultants Sandler, Reiff & Young, a Washington law firm that led the 2000 recount for Vice President Al Gore and which represents MoveOn.org.

His campaign also paid more than $6,000 total for the computer-based voter turnout expertise of two companies: The Tyson Organization of Fort Worth, Texas, and Blaemire Communications of Reston, Va.

The campaign only reported a handful of $4,000 donors this year: Coale Cooley Lietz, a Washington law firm specializing in aviation, personal injury and wrongful death; Beulah Deutsch of New York; and Westport Group of Commerce Street in Baltimore.

Other top donors included: the Claddagh Pub in Canton ($2,500); Jack Antwerpen ($2,500) of Antwerpen Automotive Group; and local lobbyist Stanley S. Fine ($1,000).

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