O'Malley Outpaces Ehrlich in Funding From Beyond Md.

By John Wagner and Derek Willis
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 17, 2006

In his search for campaign dollars, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is looking beyond Maryland's borders far more often than the Republican governor he is seeking to replace.

Nearly one-third of the $3.4 million that O'Malley (D) and his running mate reported raising during the first part of the year came from donors with addresses in the District, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania and other places where voters have no say in Maryland's gubernatorial race.

By contrast, a Washington Post analysis found that about 10 percent of the $2.9 million in cash and in-kind contributions reported by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and his running mate in that period came from out-of-state donors. That's roughly the same percentage that flowed to Ehrlich when he won the 2002 election.

Not surprisingly, the two campaigns offered sharply divergent takes on O'Malley's out-of-state haul.

"This campaign is going to do whatever we have to do to remain competitive with George Bush and the Republican fundraising machine," said O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese, noting that such GOP luminaries as President Bush, his wife and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani have made fundraising trips to Maryland for Ehrlich and the state Republican Party.

Ehrlich boosters highlighted the governor's focus on in-state donors and suggested O'Malley's travels are telling in other ways.

"I think it's more of an indication that Martin O'Malley's campaign is about Martin O'Malley and not Maryland," said state GOP spokeswoman Audra Miller, suggesting that the mayor has ambitions beyond the governor's mansion.

O'Malley's out-of-state percentage is well shy of that of the Democrats' last nominee, then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. At this point in 2002, Townsend, the daughter of Robert and Ethel Kennedy, had raised about 40 percent of her money from outside Maryland.

The Post's analysis also showed the candidates drawing support from different parts of the state, in a reflection of their regional strengths.

O'Malley's ticket raised more than Ehrlich's in the Washington region's two largest counties, bringing in about $326,000 in Prince George's to Ehrlich's $132,000. In Montgomery, O'Malley's haul was $310,000, compared with $223,000 for Ehrlich. And O'Malley raised about $536,000 in Baltimore -- about double Ehrlich's take there.

Ehrlich held a slight advantage in the battleground of Baltimore County -- about $543,000 to $519,000 -- and far outpaced O'Malley in swing counties Anne Arundel and Howard.

Ehrlich campaign spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver said the governor has had out-of-state fundraisers in three places in the past six months: the District, Northern Virginia and Las Vegas.

The O'Malley campaign was less forthcoming about the mayor's travels, but a perusal of his finance reports provides several clues: More than $17,000 in contributions was reported from Florida on a single day in March; more than $21,000 on another day that month was reported from Pennsylvania; and more than $27,000 came on a single day in April from New York.

Aides said O'Malley has also traveled to California and benefited from events held in the District by former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright and one in New Jersey, where donors included former senator Robert G. Torricelli.

The O'Malley and Ehrlich camps also sparred yesterday over the disclosure of nearly $500,000 provided to Ehrlich by the state GOP in recent months.

The $474,553 in "in-kind contributions" -- including such things as postage and printing -- was not included in the roughly $2.5 million in cash that Ehrlich and his running mate reported raising.

The GOP's Miller said that the practice is well within the law and that money was raised from a variety of sources, including party mailings. But, Abbruzzese said, given the fundraisers the party has thrown featuring Republican standouts, "perhaps it would be more honest if Bob Ehrlich just took the money straight from George Bush."

O'Malley did not report similar contributions from the state Democratic Party. Although O'Malley raised more money than Ehrlich in the seven-month period that ended Aug. 8, the governor has a cash-on-hand advantage of $8.7 million to $5.1 million, the reports show.

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