Same Backers, Different Horse
Under Maryland's previous administration, Baltimore construction company executive Willard Hackerman came to symbolize what critics -- including now-Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) -- said was a too-cozy relationship between then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) and well-connected developers.
Hackerman was at the center of a controversial land deal, eventually aborted, in which the Ehrlich administration sought to sell him 836 acres of state timberland in St. Mary's County for what Democratic lawmakers characterized as a bargain rate. During the governor's race, O'Malley traveled to the site with press in tow, vowing never to do anything like that.
In the opening days of the new administration, Hackerman's name has surfaced again, amid hundreds of others listed in a new finance report as having contributed money to O'Malley during the weeks after his election. Hackerman ponied up $4,000 on Jan. 3, according to report details made public this week. Hackerman could not be reached for comment.
All told, O'Malley and his running mate, Anthony G. Brown, raised nearly $1.7 million between Nov..22 and Jan..10 from an array of interests. They included developers, labor unions, gambling interests, Annapolis lobbyists and a slew of limited liability companies, which have become a widely used way in Maryland to get around spending limits.
Companies with ties to two Maryland racetrack owners, for instance, gave at least $80,000 to the canpaigns in the two month after the election, a measure of how much the horse racing industry is betting on the new governor to deliver slot machine gambling.
Post-election largesse also came O'Malley's way from several political action committees, including the Maryland Realtors, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Maryland Highway Contractors and the State Law Enforcement Officers Labor Alliance. They all gave at least $5,000.
Among the well-heeled Annapolis lobbyists contributing to O'Malley after the election: Casper R. Taylor (the previous speaker of the House of Delegates), J. William Pitcher and the firm of Alexander & Cleaver. They all gave $2,500.
Another interesting name: former senator Paula C. Hollinger, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last fall. Hollinger, who gave $4,000, has been mentioned as a possibility for several Cabinet posts.
Major F. Riddick, the chief of staff to Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), and Riddick's wife, Manervia, both gave $2,000 to O'Malley. Riddick's standing in the Democratic Party was tarnished last year by his support of Republican Michael S. Steele for the U.S. Senate.
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