Back in early August, when the two principal candidates for governor released their first campaign finance reports since January, one candidate was more anxious to publicize his good news than the other.
On Wednesday, August 11th, Governor Martin O'Malley announced $3.3 million raised, with $6.7 million cash on hand. Bob Ehrlich's campaign promised to release its own numbers the next day.
Well, it didn't. It waited until Friday, August 13th to disclose that it had only $2 million in the bank, even after equalling O'Malley dollar for dollar in terms of money raised. Everybody knows that, if you want to bury a news story, the best way to do it is to release it on a Friday - especially in August.
Well, both campaigns have just released their follow-up finance reports. This time, the Ehrlich campaign brags while Team O'Malley buries.
On August 31st, Ehrlich's campaign revealed that it had raised an astonishing $725,000 in just 18 days. The O'Malley campaign waited until Saturday, September 4th - right in the middle of the Labor Day weekend - to announce that it had raised only 37 percent ($267,000) as much as Ehrlich did. Further, O'Malley's cash on hand advantage has shrunk to $4 million.
A while back, I reported that the Ehrlich campaign had been tapping some state legislators for cash transfers to pump up its campaign numbers. Indeed, news report reveals that the Ehrlich campaign received $25,000 through such transfers. But, the rest of the money is donor-driven, with 41 percent coming from new donors.
This latest news causes me to draw two conclusions:
1) Minimally, Ehrlich will raise enough money over the next few months to wage a credible campaign.
2) The O'Malley campaign's expensive strategy of running TV ads starting in the summer may not have been a cost-effective move, as polls continue to indicate the race remains a neck and neck contest.
It will be interesting to see what Team O'Malley does to counter the Ehrlich fundraising surge. Vice President Biden has already headlined a fundraiser for Governor O'Malley. Will his boss be making an appearance, too?