Ehrlich, GOP point to fundraising numbers as momentum

Jessamy lends herself $100,000 in race for city state's attorney

September 04, 2010|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. raised more than twice as much money as Gov. Martin O'Malley in the most recent 18-day reporting period, which the GOP pointed to as evidence of fresh momentum for the former governor.

Ehrlich raised more than $725,000, compared with $267,000 by the O'Malley campaign. But the Democrat noted that his treasury still dwarfs Ehrlich by a nearly 3-to-1 advantage — after spending roughly $426,000 during the reporting period, O'Malley had $6.5 million in cash on hand to Ehrlich's $2.5 million.

O'Malley campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese also accused Ehrlich of "shaking down" Republican candidates in an effort to create the appearance of momentum. Reports showed Ehrlich received more than $25,000 from local candidates' accounts.

Abbruzzese said Ehrlich was "embarrassed because the last report showed them with a dismal $2 million on hand. We didn't make the same push, but we have an aggressive fundraising schedule and we'll have exactly what we need to run the race we need to run."

Maryland Republican Party spokesman Ryan Mahoney maintained that O'Malley's new numbers were "weak."

"Despite having a distinct advantage as an incumbent governor, O'Malley failed to raise 40 percent of what Bob Ehrlich raised during the same period," Mahoney said. "O'Malley's latest report makes it clear that after four years of fiscal mismanagement and record unemployment, Marylanders are eager to change course."

Ehrlich's challenger in the Republican primary, Brian Murphy, who received an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin just before the last fundraising deadline, did not see a boost in interest in his underdog campaign. He raised just $34,000, $14,000 of which the candidate contributed himself.

His campaign did not immediately respond for a comment Saturday.

In the race for Baltimore state's attorney, which will be decided in the Sept. 14 primary, defense attorney Gregg Bernstein continued to outpace 15-year incumbent Patricia C. Jessamy, who loaned her campaign $100,000 to help buy air time on the city's four television stations.

Jessamy, who had just $38,000 cash on hand as of the previous fundraising report in mid-August, gave her campaign a $100,000 loan Aug. 24, to help pay for a commercial that features U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and members of Jessamy's staff. In it, Cummings touts crime declines during her tenure and says Jessamy has Baltimore "on the right track."

She raised an additional $35,000 from about 150 individuals and businesses. They included retired Baltimore state Sen. Ralph Hughes — who gave $6,000 from his candidate account — Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt's campaign fund, and developers Reed Cordish and Otis Warren.

Bernstein turned some heads by announcing he had raised $220,000 after just a few weeks as a candidate, and he took in an additional $70,000 during the period covered by the new report. Bernstein, whose fundraising report was again heavy with area attorneys, received contributions from 280 individuals and businesses.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton



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