O'Malley outspent Ehrlich on TV ads

$1 million more in campaign's final days, report says

November 30, 2006|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun Reporter

Despite having less campaign money, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley spent $1 million more on television advertising in the final days of the gubernatorial election than Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., detailed finance reports released yesterday by the Maryland State Board of Elections show.

Buoyed by a last-minute, $500,000 loan from retired Washington attorney John P. Coale, O'Malley spent $2.7 million producing television advertisements and buying airtime - mainly through Washington-based firm Media Strategies & Research - between Oct. 23 and Nov. 21, the report shows.

Ehrlich spent just over $1.8 million during the same period, mainly with two firms, SSG Media and Red October Productions, both in Washington. Throughout the campaign, both candidates inundated the airwaves with a series of advertisements that attacked their opponents and promoted their records.

Together, including their running mate and slate accounts - but excluding interest payments - the two candidates raised nearly $34 million during the four-year election cycle that began Jan. 1, 2003, according to the reports. Four years ago, Ehrlich and the Democratic nominee at the time, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, raised $19.1 million.

The reports, which were filed Tuesday, also shed light on next year's race for mayor of Baltimore. Days before the Nov. 7 general election, former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume created a state account and has received more than $12,000, including a $4,000 transfer from a separate federal account he used in his run for Senate this year.

The state account has made three purchases: deposit slips ($138); a deposit stamp ($31.25); and software to track contributions and expenses ($400). Mfume has been talked about as a potential mayoral candidate, but he has not said publicly whether he will run.

City Council President Sheila Dixon, who will serve the remainder of O'Malley's term next year and who will seek election in 2007, raised more than $64,000 during the monthlong period.

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