Over 2 months, cash race is a tie

Ehrlich, O'Malley raise about $3 million, but governor has more cash in reserve

Maryland Votes 2006

11 Days Until Nov. 7

October 27, 2006|By John Fritze | John Fritze,SUN REPORTER

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley raised nearly identical amounts of money in the past two months - about $3 million each - but Ehrlich has far more cash in reserve as the two candidates enter the final days of this year's gubernatorial campaign, aides said yesterday.

Ehrlich raised just under $2.9 million between the end of August and Oct. 22, the campaign will report in its final finance statement before the Nov. 7 election, aides said. Ehrlich and his running mate, Kristen Cox, will report having a combined $2.4 million on hand.

"As Maryland enters the home stretch of this election, I remain grateful to have the continued support of Maryland citizens," Ehrlich said in a statement.

O'Malley and his running mate, Del. Anthony G. Brown, will report raising about $2.8 million, officials said, with about $600,000 on hand. A spokesman for the Democrat said the O'Malley campaign's on-hand number is low because it has prepurchased expensive television airtime.

"Anthony and I are grateful to the working families of Maryland for their record-breaking support in our campaign to restore leadership that works to the governor's office," O'Malley said in a statement released by his campaign.

Last-minute cash could be key if the candidates decide to step up their television advertising. An aide said the Ehrlich campaign has also prepurchased television airtime.

Together, O'Malley and Ehrlich have surpassed the record amount raised in the governor's race four years ago, when Ehrlich and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend took in more than $19 million. Ehrlich has raised $16.8 million since 2003, and O'Malley has raised about $14 million.

The next campaign finance report, which will cover the final days of the election, will not be filed until Nov. 28.

Meanwhile, the state prosecutor's office dropped its investigation into Ehrlich's mailing of a campaign advertisement that included a dollar bill. In the mailing Ehrlich wrote that he had "taken the extraordinary step of sending ... a real dollar bill" and asked recipients to return it along with a contribution.

State election officials referred a complaint to the prosecutor's office about the tactic this month. Yesterday, the office found that no laws were violated by the mailing and closed the case.


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