The Wes Moore-Aruna Miller fundraising machine appears to have picked up momentum since the general election began last month.
After winning the July 19 Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor, the Moore-Miller ticket reported raising $1.7 million and they enter the fall campaign with a combined $1,476,294 in their treasuries and a joint campaign account as of Aug. 23 – more than 10 times that of their GOP opponents.
The Democratic ticket has far more money on hand than Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick), the GOP nominee for governor, and his running mate, attorney Gordana Schifanelli. The Republicans together had $141,196 in their campaign accounts as of Aug. 23.
The latest campaign finance statements for state and local candidates, covering fundraising and spending activities for the period July 4 to Aug. 23, were due electronically at the Maryland State Board of Elections by midnight Tuesday.
The reports were supposed to be the first glimpse at candidates’ general election fundraising, but because the state’s primary was delayed by three weeks, the newest reports are a hybrid look at the last days of primary spending and of early fundraising and spending for the general. And for candidates who lost their primaries, the campaign reports are an opportunity to tie up loose ends on the financial front.
Even with the off-kilter timing, the reports suggest that the Democrats in the three statewide races — for governor, attorney general and state comptroller — are in better shape financially than their Republican opponents overall. And that’s especially true in the gubernatorial election, where Moore was far and away the top money-raiser in the Democratic field and remains so in the race against Cox.
Together, Moore, an author and former nonprofit CEO, and Miller, a former state delegate with a strong fundraising base of her own, reported collecting $10.5 million so far.
The campaign said it saw “a staggering surge in grassroots support across Maryland” since Moore won the 10-way Democratic primary with 32% of the vote. The campaign added that 79% of the contributions it has received since the primary were of $100 or less, and that the campaign has attracted more than 25,000 donors.
“I am so humbled by the incredible number of grassroots supporters we have seen join our team to help us in our mission to build up our economy, make our communities safer, and strengthen our public schools,” Moore said in a statement.
Notably, Moore’s donors include Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, the Republican nominee for state comptroller – who has worked to distance himself from Cox and former Anne Arundel County Councilmember Michael Anthony Peroutka, the GOP nominee for attorney general. Glassman gave Moore $500 on Aug. 18 — the day he attended a jam-packed fundraiser for Moore in Ocean City.
Moore reported raising $1,984,321 between July 4 and Aug. 23. He spent $1,352,328 during that period and finished the reporting period with $1,301,599 on hand. During the same period, Miller reported raising $328,761 and spending $296,732. She had $143,352 on hand on Aug. 23.
The Moore Miller for Maryland Slate, which was largely used as a pass-through for Miller’s money and was used to pay several big consulting firms, had $31,343 in the bank as of Aug. 23.
While it’s true that Moore had thousands of small donors, his latest campaign finance report ran 704 pages long and included large contributions from New York financiers and real estate executives, entertainment industry moguls, Washington, D.C., lawyers, lobbyists and developers, big labor unions, Baltimore commercial interests and health care CEOs, tech entrepreneurs from all across the country, and Annapolis lobbyists.
During this six-week period, Moore received contributions from Stanley McChrystal, the retired Army general, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking Black member of Congress, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), and Maria Cuomo, daughter of the late New York Gov. Mario Cuomo (D).
And, during this six-week period, at least 43 people or entities “maxed out” to Moore with $6,000 contributions, the maximum allowed by state law.
These included John Angelos, the Baltimore lawyer and co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles; Elizabeth Bagley, an American diplomat, philanthropist and Democratic donor; Tiffani Chambers, a top executive at Bank of America; Mark Joseph, the former William Donald Schaefer aide and philanthropist; Bruce Bereano, the Annapolis lobbyist who was all-in for one of Moore’s Democratic primary foes, Comptroller Peter Franchot; Rick Rudman, CEO of Curbio, a national home sales company; Wayne Rogers, the former Maryland Democratic Party chair who is chair and CEO of The Northeast Maglev project; and Strategic Solutions Center, one of several companies owned by Major Riddick, who was also a leading Franchot supporter and former chief of staff to then-Gov. Parris Glendening (Riddick himself gave $3,500).
Miller was the recipient of at least 28 $6,000 donations, including from Riddick; Angelos; David Bradley, the CEO of Atlantic Media; former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D); Swati Mylavarapu and Matt Rogers, a San Francisco-based couple who are investors and major backers of the Climate Leadership Initiative; and the Michael Companies, Prince George’s County-based real estate developers.
Cox, who is aligned with former President Trump, raised $196,627 between July 4 and Aug. 23, and Schifanelli took in $7,411 at the same time. Together, they spent $252,111 – much of it during Cox’s Republican primary contest against former state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, the favorite of the GOP establishment.
Cox saw six individuals or entities “max out” with $6,000 contributions, led by The Presidential Coalition LLC, a fundraising entity controlled by David Bossie, a Trump confidante and Republican National Committeeman for Maryland.
Glassman, the Republican nominee for comptroller, had more money in his campaign account on Aug. 23 than his Democratic opponent, Baltimore City Del. Brooke Lierman, $443,282 to $223,021. But that disparity is somewhat misleading.
Glassman, who was unopposed for the Republican nomination, raised just $29,235 between July 4 and Aug. 23. Lierman, who just got through a primary against free-spending Bowie Mayor Tim Adams, raised $393,006 during the same period. Much of that money was earmarked for the primary – Adams spent at least $3.5 million of his own money on that race, according to campaign finance records. Lierman wound up winning the primary by an almost 2-1 margin.
Lierman reported spending $554,810 during the six-week reporting period, compared to just $45,213 in spending for Glassman. The Republican has the financial edge for now, but for how long?
Glassman is the only one of the three statewide Republican nominees without ties to the GOP’s MAGA movement – as his donation to Moore demonstrates. But Lierman is still the strong favorite and should be able to replenish her campaign treasury quickly.
Attorney general fundraising
U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D) raised far more money in his race for attorney general than Peroutka, the Republican. But Brown burned most of that money in his hard-fought Democratic primary battle against retired Judge Katie Curran O’Malley.
Between July 4 and Aug. 23, Brown raised $249,777 and spent $530,546. He finished the reporting period with $80,094 on hand.
During the same timeframe, Peroutka, who won a much more low-key Republican primary battle against former prosecutor Jim Shalleck, reported raising $43,551 and spending $35,046. He had $35,894 in his campaign account on Aug. 23.
Brown reported half a dozen contributions of the maximum $6,000. They came from AFSCME Council 3, the government workers union; Gibbs & Haller, a law firm in Largo; Michael J. Chiaramonte & Associates, a health care policy, wealth management and hospitality consulting firm with operations throughout the Washington, D.C., area; Peter N.G. Schwartz Management, a D.C.-based property management firm; the Machinists union; and Baltimore City Councilmember Eric Costello (D).
The Democratic Attorney Generals Association kicked in $5,950 after Brown won the primary over O’Malley.
During the six-week period, most of Brown’s expenditures – $348,156 – went for TV ads.
Brown’s campaign committee had already been carrying significant debt, dating back to loans he made to his unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2014. But Brown loaned his campaign an additional $81,250 on July 8, in the final tense days of his campaign against O’Malley, which he wound up winning by 10 points. Through Aug. 23, Brown’s cumulative debts totaled $302,109.
Brown also has a congressional campaign committee registered with the state, which he used exclusively to dole out money to fellow Democrats over the previous six weeks, including $6,000 apiece to Moore, Miller, Lierman, Jessica Fitzwater, the Democratic nominee for Frederick County executive, and the Democratic Senate Caucus Committee and the House Democratic Caucus Committee.
Peroutka, a controversial figure who was the U.S. Constitution Party nominee for president in 2004 and has been linked to right-wing hate groups, reported just one $6,000 contribution between July 4 and Aug. 23, from First National Investments LLC in Newnan, Ga., a financial services company.
The second largest contribution ($2,329) came from Jane Hargadon, who works for her husband Michael’s dental practice in Emmitsburg. Michael Hargadon was the Republican nominee against the late Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings (D) in 2008 and was the Constitution Party nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Like Brown, Peroutka’s campaign also carried some debt – $30,000, owed to the candidate.