Several Maryland gubernatorial candidates reported at least six-figure campaign war chests ahead of the primary election with early voting set to begin July 7.
The leading Democratic candidates released television and radio ads in the D.C. and Baltimore area markets, perhaps to garner the attention of voters in Prince George’s County which houses the most registered Democrats in the state.
According to the next round of campaign reports filed late Tuesday, Democrat and author Wes Moore reported $1.7 million in this campaign cycle. Along with almost $351,254 from his running mate, former Del. Aruna Miller of Montgomery County, the campaign’s total rounds out at $2.1 million, the most in the field.
Besides money, Moore will receive additional backing from supporters of former County Executive Rusher L. Baker III, who dropped out of the race – one of three Black men who originally pursued the governor’s seat.
One major reason for Moore seeking Prince George’s support stems from the county’s distinction as having the highest percentage of registered Democrats in the state.
County Council chair Calvin Hawkins II acknowledged that fact Thursday, June 16.
“There was a commitment that I had made to my former boss, Rushern Baker,” Hawkins said. “Now that Mr. Baker is no longer in the race, my team and I are fully invested [and] prepared to assist Moore in Prince George’s County. History is looking at us.”
Democratic candidate John King, Jr. also seeks to make history to become the state’s first Black governor.
The former U.S. Education secretary from Montgomery County, along with his running mate Michelle Siri, have more than $800,000 cash on hand.
The campaign continues to push King as the “progressive candidate” with several endorsements from groups such as Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, Pro-Choice Maryland Action and Our Revolution Maryland (ORMD).
“We are aware that King is not the front runner in this race yet,” according to an email Saturday, June 18 from Our Revolution Maryland. “The only way to change that is by making more ORMD members and more Maryland voters aware of the issue differences between the candidates.”
A Baltimore Sun/University of Baltimore poll released this month showed Democratic candidate and state Comptroller Peter Franchot ahead with 20% of likely Democratic voters to choose him and his running mate, lieutenant governor candidate, Monique Anderson-Walker, a former Prince George’s County Council member.
The Franchot campaign reported $1.6 million cash on hand with less than four weeks before the July 19 primary election.
Another Democrat, former nonprofit executive Jon Baron, reported the same amount with the majority secured through a loan.
The latest campaign ad features Baron riding in place on a two-seat bicycle with his running mate, Natalie Williams of Bowie. The main point: for the state to stop “rolling out unproven government programs.”
The campaign of Democrat and former state and U.S. Labor secretary Tom Perez and former Baltimore City Council member Shannon Sneed reported about $1.1 million.
Perez has garnered endorsements from lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and state Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-District 24) and several union organizations including Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO.
Former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, reported more than $1 million cash on hand, with about $800,000 coming from a personal loan.
Gansler continues to stress being the only candidate with experience to combat crime and support local police with a platform that includes hiring 1,000 more police officers statewide, boosting training in de-escalation tactics and funding school resource officers in schools.
“This election is about crime and criminal justice,” Gansler said in a statement. “If we nominate a Democrat with no experience fighting crime, we will lose yet another election to the Republicans this fall.”
The five women running for lieutenant governor would also make history if elected: Anderson-Walker, Hollingsworth, or Sneed as the first Black woman; Miller as the first American Indian; and Siri as the first Iranian American.
Meanwhile, the remaining Democratic candidates have less than $21,000 such as former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain with $20,775 cash on hand. His running mate, an African American, LaTrese Hawkins Lytes of Prince George’s, hails from Prince George’s.
Jerome Segal, a retired research scholar and professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, reported less than $5,000.
Perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe filed an affidavit to report his campaign raised less than $1,000.
On the Republican side, former state Commerce secretary Kelly Schulz easily outraised her three opponents with almost $785,000 cash on hand with her running mate, Jeff Woolford, a lieutenant colonel in the Maryland Air National Guard. She has received the endorsement of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, whose term expires in January.
Republican candidate Del. Daniel Cox, who represents portions of Carroll and Frederick counties and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, reported $150,000. Along with $33,712 from his running mate Gordana Schifanelli, an attorney from Queen Anne’s County, their campaign’s total sits at nearly $184,000.
Perennial candidate and former state Del. Robin Ficker of Montgomery County placed a loan on his campaign in January at $1.1 million. His latest campaign filing on June 14 showed a report with $326,890 cash on hand.
No campaign reports have been filed with the state Board of Elections for Republican Joe Werner of Baltimore County.
Besides the governor’s race, the primaries will determine which candidates will appear on November’s general election ballot for U.S. House and Senate and state legislature, among other races.