Md. Gov. O'Malley's campaign has $5.7 million banked

Gov. Martin O'Malley, with House Speaker Michael Busch, has advantage on fundraising.
Gov. Martin O'Malley, with House Speaker Michael Busch, has advantage on fundraising. (Mark Gail/washington Post)
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By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 15, 2010

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign said Thursday that it has more than $5.7 million in the bank, a significant advantage for the Democratic incumbent at the start of an election year in which he is drawing opponents from both major parties.

No other gubernatorial hopeful is expected to declare more than a modest sum next week, when reports are due to state election officials.

During the past year, fundraising has not been a focus for former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), who is considering a rematch with O'Malley. Last January, Ehrlich reported only $151,529 in a campaign account that he has kept open.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell, who declined to say what Ehrlich has raised since then, said O'Malley's war chest was not surprising. "It's the power of incumbency, and it shouldn't surprise anybody . . . that they're awash in money," Fawell said.

Larry Hogan, a former Ehrlich Cabinet official who has said he will seek the GOP nomination if Ehrlich does not run, said Thursday that he has not held a single fundraiser while waiting to hear Ehrlich's plans.

Meanwhile, former state veterans secretary George W. Owings III, who announced last week a Democratic primary challenge to O'Malley, said he had not attempted to raise money before his announcement.

"I find raising that kind of money vulgar," Owings said of O'Malley's efforts. "If you're the incumbent, you're certainly known by the state you represent."

O'Malley's campaign has more than the $4.2 million he reported in January 2006, the beginning of the year in which he defeated Ehrlich. At that point, Ehrlich had $8.4 million in the bank, more than O'Malley does now.

Campaign aides said that when O'Malley's report is filed with election officials, it will show nearly $4.8 million raised in the past year, with contributions from 6,200 donors.

O'Malley campaign manager Tom Russell said the governor's fundraising was "very strong," particularly given the recession.

"We have support from all regions and segments of the state and the resources to communicate with voters," Russell said.

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