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Government & Politics

Moore-Miller team reports $251K campaign cash haul since election — and inauguration fundraising was almost certainly bigger

Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D) and Gov. Wes Moore (D) watch the official proceedings during the first day of the 2023 General Assembly session. Photo by William F. Zorzi.

Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D) collectively raised about a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds from the week following their election to the week before Wednesday’s inauguration, new campaign finance records show. Overall, the Moore-Miller political operation had $1,653,562 in the bank on Jan. 11 — almost four years before they would presumably go before voters for a second term, in 2026.

Moore and Miller raised more than $17 million overall for their successful campaign, a muscular showing, and they are certain to build a robust war chest in the years ahead.

Although Moore attracted hundreds of small-dollar donations in the weeks following his resounding election on Nov. 8, he also brought in 39 contributions of $1,000 or more, including six of $6,000, the maximum allowed by law during the course of a four-year election cycle.

Miller’s separate campaign committee received two $6,000 donations between mid-November and mid-January.

Campaign finance reports for state and county political committees, reflecting fundraising and spending activities between Nov. 16 and Jan. 11, were due to be filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections this week.

For all 188 members of the General Assembly and newly-elected Attorney General Anthony Brown (D), a 90-day ban on fundraising went into effect on Jan. 11 and continues throughout the three-month legislative session. But because Moore and Miller weren’t sworn in until Wednesday, they could continue fundraising for another week; Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D), who was sworn in on Monday, was also able to raise money for a few extra days beyond the usual 90-day pause. Contributions that Moore, Miller and Lierman received after Jan. 11 won’t have to be disclosed until the next round of campaign finance reports are due — in January 2024.

While the Moore-Miller team’s haul of $251,266 in campaign cash during that two-month period is hardly insignificant, it’s all but certain to be dwarfed by the fundraising they did for the inaugural ball, which drew about 12,000 revelers to the Baltimore Convention Center on Wednesday night. Signs in the convention center lobby showed about 150 corporate sponsors, many with business before state government. Donations of $30,000 or more earned a “champion” designation, while $15,000 contributors were called trailblazers. Donations of $10,000 were called benefactors, and donations of $5,000 were designated as friends.

Maryland law requires a governor’s inaugural committee to register with the state board of elections and disclose all fundraising activities and expenditures. But the inaugural committee isn’t bound by state campaign finance law or timetables, or contribution limits. The inaugural committee is simply required to file a report with the elections board when it closes the books on its activities.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was the first governor required to comply with the law, which was passed in the 2015 General Assembly session. He reported raising more than $1.6 million for his second term inaugural, and his committee released its fundraising and spending report about seven weeks after the inaugural ball was held. It seems likely that Moore’s inauguration will surpass Hogan’s by a healthy margin in money raised and spent.

On the campaign front, Moore’s committee report raising $238,373 between Nov. 16 and Jan. 11, while Miller’s pulled in $12,893. Moore’s committee had $1,653,562 in the bank on Jan. 11, while Miller’s had $153,666. A joint fundraising entity, which has mostly been used in recent months as a pass-through to pay certain vendors and consultants, had an additional $3,591 on hand.

Moore’s $6,000 contributors: Amazon.com Services LLC; Capital One Services LLC, a financial services company; SunMed Growers, a cannabis company in Earleville; 1199 SEIU New York State Political Action Fund, the political arm of a regional health care workers union; SEIU Local 500, a regional public sector union; and the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s PAC.

Amazon.com and 1199 SEIU also “maxed out” with $6,000 contributions to Miller’s campaign committee.

Lierman, Brown and local leaders

Lierman, the new comptroller, reported raising $26,548 between Nov. 16 and Jan. 11, including half a dozen contributions of $1,000 or more. She finished the reporting period with $141,051 in her campaign account.

Brown, the new attorney general had $215,955 on hand on Jan. 11 after raising $11,882 since Nov. 16. He reported three donations of $1,000 or more, including $6,000 from Amazon.com Services.

Executives in Maryland’s “Big Eight” local jurisdictions also reported their fundraising activities for the previous two months. Most were reelected in 2022 and many are term-limited.

First-term Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott (D), who faces reelection in 2024, reported $450,954 on hand as of Jan. 11. Other campaign cash:

  • Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D): $65,442
  • Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. (D): $1,637,589
  • Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater (D): $5,334
  • Harford County Executive Robert Cassilly (R): $40,861
  • Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D): $9,228
  • Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D): $20,368
  • Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D): $230,902

Also notable is the campaign account of former Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, the GOP nominee for comptroller in 2022. He reported $51,703 on hand, suggesting he anticipated his big loss to Lierman in the general election and decided to hold on to some extra cash, in case he decides to run for office again.