Richard E. Hug, Republican fundraiser in Maryland, dies at 78

Richard E. Hug, a prominent businessman and prolific fundraiser for Republican candidates, died May 4. He was 78.

The Republican Party of Maryland announced his death, but no information about the cause or place was disclosed.

Mr. Hug was the finance chairman for three Maryland gubernatorial campaigns — those of Ellen R. Sauerbrey in 1998 and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. in 2002 and 2006. He was known as the $6 million man after he raised that amount for Sauerbrey’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D).

He also belonged to numerous civic boards and associations, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, and he served a stint as chairman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Hug was born in Paterson, N.J., and earned a degree in forestry at Duke University. He began his business career with Koppers, a chemical and materials firm based in Pittsburgh, and rose to become a vice president there in 1973.

He later was the founder and chief executive of Environmental Elements, a Baltimore air pollution reduction company. In 1991, he started an investing and consulting business in Annapolis.

Mr. Hug chalked up his fundraising success to making personal connections and persistence.

“We’re not bashful,” he told the Baltimore Sun in 1997. “You send out three or four letters, or call people three or four times, and pretty soon they say, ‘If you’re going to ask me again for money, Hug, I’m going to send you a check just to get you out of my hair.’ ”

Mr. Hug raised more than $10 million for Ehrlich in 2002, a record for a Maryland gubernatorial campaign, then exceeded that for the 2006 election.

In 2006, Mr. Hug resigned from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents after the General Assembly passed a law tightening restrictions on political activities by regents.

He ran statewide fundraising efforts for George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns, becoming a “Super Ranger” — someone who had raised at least $500,000.

Mr. Hug didn’t raise money only for political campaigns — for former governor William Donald Schaefer (D), he raised $6 million to bring the international Special Olympics to the state.

Many people marveled at Mr. Hug’s fundraising abilities.

“It’s amazing,” Ehrlich said in 2002 after Mr. Hug helped outraise his rival, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D). “Some people like to play golf or like business, but Dick likes to shake people down.”

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Lois Hug; two children; a sister; and four grandchildren.

— Baltimore Sun

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