Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is entering the 2006 election year with more than $4 million in the bank, aides to the Democratic candidate for governor said this afternoon.
A spokeswoman for Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, O'Malley's Democratic rival, declined to say what Duncan's report would show when filed later this week. Duncan will make his numbers public on Tuesday, said spokeswoman Jody Couser.
Both Democrats are expected to lag far behind Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr, who aides say has raised more than $10 million toward the November elections.
The campaign finance reports, due Wednesday, will provide an important barometer in what is sure to be the most expensive governorâ€™s race in Maryland history.
During the entire 2002 campaign, Ehrlich raised $10.5 million, and his Democratic opponent, then-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, raised $8.5 million.
O'Malley campaign manager Jonathan Epstein said his boss will report having $4.19 million on hand as of last Wednesday, the close of the reporting period. O'Malley will report raising $4.29 million in the preceding year. Nearly half of that--$2 million--came in at a June fundraiser at M&T Stadium in Baltimore, aides said. Epstein said O'Malley raised money from all 24 Maryland jurisdictions and took in about $100,000 over the Internet in the final week of the reporting period.
Esptein argued that O'Malley's take is impressive when compared to other challengers at similar points in their campaigns. In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine reported $3.2 million on-hand at a similar time in his ultimately successful bid for governor, Epstein said.
O'Malley's ticket will also benefit from money raised by his running mate, Del. Anthony G. Brown (D-Prince George's). Brownâ€™s totals have not been released yet.
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