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O'Malley's war chest up to $6.7 million, big fundraising lead likely remains over Ehrlich

Aaron C. Davis

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has $6.7 million dollars in the bank - a million more than he had eight months ago, and likely double that of his best-known opponent - because he raised $3.3 million during the last reporting period, his campaign announced Wednesday.

The fundraising announcement came one day after candidates in Maryland's gubernatorial contest had to report contributions collected since January, and two days after former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.'s (R) campaign announced a similar target of raising $3 million for the period.

o'malley-kickoff.jpgIn announcing his fundraising total before Ehrlich, O'Malley was first to the inevitable spin game about what the figures mean heading into November. In a statement, O'Malley's campaign manager Tom Russell appeared to play off Ehrlich's public target, saying the Democratic incumbent is expected to have "double the cash on hand compared to Ehrlich."

"Today's report clearly shows that Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown have the momentum heading into the final months of the campaign."

Arriving at an event in Dundalk Wednesday morning, Ehrlich declined to provide a figure but said, "We did pretty good out of the gates."

Thumbnail image for Ehrlich-campaign.jpg"It's tough to raise money against a Democratic incumbent governor in Maryland," Ehrlich said, adding that his fundraising total was ahead of what his campaign had planned and would "show momentum."

Even if Ehrlich's fundraising surpasses O'Malley for the reporting period that ended Tuesday, however, with campaign costs rising on both sides, it's likely that O'Malley has a 2-to-1 lead or greater in cash on hand to spend during the final three months of the race.

In January -- the last time candidates were required to report fundraising totals -- O'Malley had $5.7 million in the bank. He has been actively raising money since the legislative session ended in April but has also started spending significantly on television ads in the Baltimore market.

Ehrlich, who announced his plans in April to get his old job back, had only $151,529 in the bank as of January. Though he has not aired TV ads yet, Ehrlich's campaign does appear to be spending a fair amount of money on staff, office space and social media outreach.

In his release, O'Malley's campaign noted that at this point in 2006 when the two candidates last squared off, O'Malley reported having approximately $5.1 million, while Ehrlich reported having more than $8.6 million.

Ehrlich "hasn't raised even half of the resources that he had in 2006 when he was voted out of office," Russell. Said.

O'Malley's announcement also assumed that the Democrat still maintains an even bigger fundraising edge over Brian Murphy, the little-known Republican candidate who was endorsed last week by Sarah Palin. Murphy's campaign has not yet released its fundraising total.

--Aaron C. Davis and John Wagner

By Aaron C. Davis and John Wagner  |  August 11, 2010; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections  | Tags: annapolis, bob ehrlich, brian murphy, martin o'malley, maryland governor's race, maryland politics, sarah palin  
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Next: Montgomery inspector general to leave job


And whatever cash ehrlich has, he is gonna need some of it to fight against Murphy.
If Palin comes to Maryland and actively campaigns for Murphy, Murphy will beat ehrlich.

Posted by: MarilynManson | August 11, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

So now OMalley has plenty of dough to baffle us with his brilliance or bury us with BS. The big question should be, what will he do to get Maryland out of the huge mountain of debt he and the legislature has racked up? If the national economy keeps sinking, as many prognosticators are claiming is happening, how will Md. survive without massive spending cuts and huge tax increases?

Posted by: VikingRider | August 11, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Polls can be slanted depending on how you sample. Competing campaigns can spin anything and everything to prognosticate good results for their candidate. However, campaign fundraising totals give a very accurate picture of actual support and ability to garner support through media, mailers and field effort.

O'Malley has met his mark, 6.7 on hand, ready to deploy is a strong number. Spin ignored, the number Ehrlich Kane posts will tell more about this race, at this time than anyother factor.

Ehrlich has proven to be a prolific fundraiser. I suspect he will have 3.5 to 4 million on hand, ready to deploy. If he does he stands a shot. However if he has 5 to 6 million on hand, O'Malley has an absolute dogfight. Conversely, if Ehrlich has less than 3 million ready to deploy he is in serious, serious trouble; the closer he gets to 2 million, the worse it looks for his chances. Remember the core gives early, thats the easy money. Late money comes proportionate to givers confidence of a win, much tougher dollars to grab.

Ehrlich needs money to get on tv, radio and in the field to get his message out. The next few days, and his hard cash number on hand will be the most telling numbers to date.

Overcoming a 2-1 registration advantage, in a state that is fairing better than most in this economy, against an incumbent is tough sledding. Doing it without the engine campaign dollars can provide-impossible.

Posted by: Negotiator1 | August 11, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The true shame is how much money is being spent on this campaign and every other, feeding the campaign spin machines and hardly ever bringing any more truth on a candidate to the public's attention. There is too much need in this country for all this money to be spent on things like endless repeating TV and radio ads, telephone call campaigns and unwanted direct mail pieces.

Posted by: animmer | August 11, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

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