Baltimore mayoral candidates have raised more than $2.3 million towards a race that recent polls suggest is wide open, according to Board of Elections financial reports due late Wednesday night.
Mayor Jack Young has about $960,000 on hand and raised over $1 million total. A big chunk of that cash was raised during a $4,000-a-plate high-profile dinner fundraiser in October, hosted by restaurateurs Alex and Eric Smith of the Atlas Restaurant Group. His cash reserve, the largest of the crowded field, may help the incumbent hold onto his current seat.
Thiru Vignarajah, the former Deputy Maryland Attorney General, is also holding strong: he raised more than $1 million and has around $850,000 on hand.
Vignarajah blew away his competitors in top dollar donors: More than half his money comes from 94 donors who contributed the individual maximum of $6,000 each. They include Texas-based philanthropists John and Laura Arnold, who are also funding the revival of the city’s controversial spy plane.
Brandon Scott reported raising more than $450,000. The majority of his donors gave small contributions of $250 or less.
Scott also reported the return of a $4,500 gift from the Columbia-based Grant Capital Management, headed by J.P. Grant. Grant has come under scrutiny for donating $100,000 to disgraced former mayor Catherine Pugh’s Healthy Holly LLC and for his company’s master lease with the city.
"Every public poll shows Brandon at the top of the pack, and we haven't aired a single TV commercial yet,” said campaign manager Marvin James in a statement. “We are in a strong position to win the race and will have the resources to do so."
Mary Washington reported a total of $155,000 raised with $115,000 cash on hand in her. Her campaign noted the bulk of these donations were raised just six weeks after her announcement and through the holiday season; donors sent her nearly $50,000 during the first week of January alone.
“Our momentum shows how energized people are to change the narrative for our city and put an end to corrupt pay-to-play politics where they don’t have a voice,” Washington said in a statement.
Former mayor Shelia Dixon also raised a lot of cash in a short time. Despite joining the race just last month, Dixon raised around $100,000 and has $89,000 on hand.
The candidates, all Democrats, are jockeying alongside others to win the mayoral primary in deep-blue Baltimore on April 28.