OK, enough talk about polls, debates, and campaign ads. Let's look at who’s winning the contest everyone cares about: "The Battle of the Campaign Paychecks."
I just looked through the salaries section of the most recent campaign finance reports submitted by both the Ehrlich and O’Malley campaigns. The winner and still champion: Paul Schurick, Bob Ehrlich’s de facto campaign manager. Schurick is raking in more than $15,000 a month – an almost unheard of salary for a campaign manager in a gubernatorial race. His closest rival in the salary race is, as you might expect, O’Malley campaign honcho Tom Russell, who earns about $10,500 a month.
Looking at the salaries paid by both campaigns, a few patterns emerge.
As for Team O’Malley, most staffers seem to be earning around $4000 a month, or less. Exceptions include the governor’s brother, Peter O’Malley ($9500 a month), campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese ($7100 a month), Adam Goers ($6400 a month) and some guy named Curtis Valentine, a “political consultant” who picked up a $4500 check in mid-August.
Regarding Team Ehrlich, many more staffers are drawing princely paychecks than are their counterparts in O’Malley’s camp. Based on my own experience with these folks, this generosity with salaries must be a new phenomenon in Ehrlich world. But I digress.
Aside from Schurick, the most generously paid people in the Ehrlich campaign include fundraiser John Reith (almost $9000 a month), Political Director Bernie Marczyk ($6300 a month), and Communications Director Henry Fawell (he’s making about the same as Marczyk). Hapless campaign spokesman Andy Barth, who was probably already on the air while his boss Fawell was still in diapers, earns about $800 a month less than Fawell.
Another difference I noted is that Team O’Malley is the only campaign which has relatives on the payroll. In addition to tapping donors to pay Peter, they're paying Paul O’Malley a modest campaign salary, too.
Similarly, Team Ehrlich is the only campaign employing a married couple. Proud Dundalkians Greg and Chris Massoni – frequent first-in-liners at the Ehrlich all-you-can-grab buffet – bring in nearly $12,000 a month combined. Their exact responsibilities remain a bit murky. Once a State House spokesman, the simian-like Greg Massoni now shadows the former governor full-time – Ehrlich’s equivalent of Charlie Young, the presidential "body man" from TV's The West Wing. Gum-snapping Chris Massoni performed secretarial duties for Ehrlich in the governor’s office and at Womble Carlyle, and presumably plays a similar clerical role now. She will likely continue in this role indefinitely - unless Bravo TV begins casting for "The Real Housewives of Merritt Boulevard."
To study the salaries listed in the most recent reports, click here for O’Malley and here for Ehrlich.