Money in 2010 governor’s race dropped, but O’Malley raised two-thirds more than Ehrlich

By Megan Poinski

Although there was not as much money flowing in the 2010 gubernatorial election, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown got the same amount of campaign donations last year as they did in 2006, according to a new report. This amounted to $5.5 million, or two-thirds more than Republican opponents Bob Ehrlich and Mary Kane.

The report from the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship analyzes the donations that were made to candidates in the 2010 general election, where the money came from, and how it was spent.

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and Gov. Martin O'Malley

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (left) and Gov. Martin O'Malley

O’Malley and Brown raised about $14 million in donations from all sources in 2010. Ehrlich and Kane received just over $8 million – $10 million less than what Ehrlich raised in 2006, when he was the incumbent governor.

This was the first governor’s race in two decades where less money was raised than the election four years prior, the report says. “It is unknown if this contributed to the election outcome, and it will be interesting to see if this occurs again in 2014,” said CAPC Director Paul Herrnson.

Between 1990 and 2006, CAPC reports said, the amount of money involved in gubernatorial elections had increased tenfold.

Where the money came from

Both Ehrlich and O’Malley raised money from different sources. However, of the total dollars raised, just under two-thirds came from private individuals, the report states.

Ehrlich leaned more heavily on private individuals for his campaign total in 2010. A total of 71% of his money came from private individuals, while they provided just 59% of O’Malley’s total cash.

Both candidates received the bulk of their money from in-state donors – 71% for O’Malley and 88% for Ehrlich. But “out of Maryland” is still the single location that gave the most money to the 2010 campaign, almost $5 million.

Next to that, Baltimore County contributed the second largest amount – almost $3.9 million – to campaigns. Montgomery County was right behind that, with about $3.7 million.

O’Malley beat out Ehrlich in many of the county and city fundraising efforts, too. He received all but $1 million of the out-of-state money. More than 60% of Montgomery County’s donations went to the O’Malley campaign. The former Baltimore mayor received 4.7 times more money than Ehrlich. The only major county where Ehrlich finished ahead was Baltimore County, where Ehrlich received $180,246 more than O’Malley.

How money was spent
The university report notes that the major difference between the two campaigns was that O’Malley-Brown created a slate committee for themselves, and transferred $6.5 million from their individual campaign accounts to the slate committee. The slate committee spent almost all its money on paid media.
When media spending from all their campaign accounts is added up, O’Malley-Brown spent nearly twice as much as Ehrlich: $8.2 million compared to $4.3 million.

This helps explain why O’Malley campaign ads were running on TV and radio with no responding ads from the Erhlich campaign.

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

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