Leopold leads fundraising in county executive race

August 21, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold, a Republican running for re-election, has seven times the campaign cash of his nearest competitor, though Democratic opponent Joanna L. Conti has outpaced Leopold in fundraising this year.

With a little more than two months before the November election, Leopold has $568,000 cash on hand. Conti, an Annapolis business executive, has $81,000, and Green Party candidate Mike Shay has $3,100, according to campaign documents filed with the state elections board last week.

"The county executive is encouraged by the numbers, because they reflect support for him in the community," said his spokesman, Dave Abrams. "But the strength of Mr. Leopold's campaign has always been personal contact with county voters. While we're pleased to have the resources, they are only helpful as a way to reinforce the personal contact that the county executive has made over the years.

"The best campaign is a good record," Abrams said. "We have a good record to build on in a second term."

Since January, Conti has raised $168,000 and Leopold $33,600.

Spokesman Michael Souder said Conti has raised a total of $185,191 through more than 500 donations.

"These numbers clearly show that Joanna is the candidate with momentum in this race, and that people are supporting her financially because they're tired of 'politics as usual' and are ready for real leadership," Souder said.

Much of Leopold's contributions have come from developers; Conti has also accepted contributions from developers. Shay has vowed not to take donations from developers or gambling interests.

Both Conti and Leopold have returned some donations — Leopold to a business accused of hiring illegal immigrants and Conti to contributors who pledged more than the legal limit of $4,000.

Shay said he was pleased with his campaign's fundraising efforts — $2,975 in just under two months.

"Where the money comes from is as important as how much was raised, and the agenda of a candidate's biggest backers should be carefully considered," said Shay, who criticized his opponents for accepting donations from developers. "It's transactional politics, or 'pay to play,' and it's why our system seems broken."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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