Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) led the pack, reporting $465,272. She out-raised colleagues Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who reported $377,029 in contributions, and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), who claimed overall receipts of $268,108.
Another recent entrant, former State Department official Reta Jo Lewis, reported income of $75,283 in her inaugural filing.
Gray, whose 2010 campaign is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation, has not announced whether he will seek reelection. His silence has continued to hover over the race, keeping potential donors on the sidelines as they wait for the field to coalesce.
Overall donations are lagging behind those of the previous mayoral election cycle. At this point four years ago, eight months before the 2010 primary, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) alone had raised more than $3.5 million for his reelection bid.
Bowser, a council member since 2007 and the first to declare her candidacy in April, said she was “thrilled” with her fundraising lead. “I think it demonstrates we have had a really strong start, and it demonstrates that our message is resonating in all eight wards,” she said.
Her cash haul was heavy on real estate developers, small and mid-sized construction companies, and business leaders who had been strong supporters of Fenty, Bowser’s predecessor as Ward 4 council member. Several prominent city government lobbyists also wrote checks. But her campaign noted that nearly half of her 945 reported donations were of $100 or less, representing grass-roots support in city neighborhoods.
Bowser won support from parties on both sides of one divisive issue: Foulger-Pratt, the Rockville-based developer of a Wal-Mart in her ward, gave $2,000, while the Rev. Kendrick Curry, who recently hosted a news conference deeply critical of the mega-retailer at his Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, gave $200.
Evans, who has deep support among the downtown business community, drew heavily upon that group and other moneyed interests for his early fundraising. He averaged $866 per donation, the highest among the candidates reporting Wednesday, in a race with a $2,000-per-donor limit.
Heavy fundraising from legal and real estate interests was evident, with particularly strong support from businesses in Evans’s home neighborhood of Georgetown — including developers Richard Levy and Richard Bernstein, parking executive Russell Lindner and the Clyde’s Restaurant Group.
Evans also won support from investment titans — banker Emanuel Friedman and private-equity mogul Carl Rickertsen — and sporting luminaries — Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards and the Capitals, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and former Redskins executive Charley Casserly.