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Wes Moore outraises Dan Cox by 10 to 1 in governor's race

Rachel Baye
Wes Moore is the Democratic nominee for governor in Maryland.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore is entering the last two months of the campaign with a significant financial advantage over Republican Dan Cox. WYPR’s Rachel Baye joined Pam Jones to discuss the latest campaign finance reports, which were due to the state at midnight last night.


Give me a sense of scale. How big is Moore’s advantage?


Between July 4 and Aug. 23, Moore and his running mate, Aruna Miller, reported raising more than $2 million combined, with about $1.4 million still in the bank at the end of that period.

By comparison, Cox and his running mate, Gordana Schifanelli, reported raising just over $200,000, with just over $200,000 left in the bank.

Among the other candidates running for governor in November, the only one who has enough money to have to report it to the state is Libertarian David Lashar. He had just under $10,000 on hand at the end of the reporting period. Candidates that don’t raise or spend more than a thousand dollars are not required to report.


Are these numbers surprising at all?


It’s not terribly surprising. Moore has proven to be a pretty prolific fundraiser. State records show the campaign has raised about $10.4 million since the start of 2021. That comes from more than 26,000 donors, including many who listed out-of-state addresses.

Moore has also had help from some high-profile friends. For example, Oprah Winfrey hosted a virtual fundraiser for him during the primary, and last month, he had a fundraiser with filmmaker Spike Lee on Martha’s Vineyard.

On the other hand, Cox’s campaign has raised just under a million dollars since the start of last year. That includes roughly $40,000 Cox loaned the campaign plus another $28,000 he transferred from his House of Delegates campaign account.


Put this into a broader context of the gubernatorial contest. How much of a difference does money make in this kind of a race?


Money isn’t everything, but it definitely matters. Without money, campaigns can’t pay their staff, air TV or radio ads, or pay for all those campaign signs you see along roadsides.

Those things — the signs, the TV and radio ads, the robocalls, the mailers — they help campaigns reach Marylanders who may not be paying that close attention to the race but whose votes will matter in November.

Of course, candidates aren’t the only ones paying for campaign ads. Outside groups can also raise and spend money on their own. For example, just last week, the local arm of the Service Employees International Union pledged half a million dollars of support to Moore.


Was there anything in these reports you found particularly intriguing?


On the spending side, Schifanelli reported paying herself more than $8,000 from the campaign. She said the money was used for “meeting expenses,” but didn’t offer any additional explanation.

And I’m sure I’ll learn more as I spend more time digging into the reports.

Jones: I know you’ll keep us posted. Thanks, Rachel. 

Rachel Baye is a reporter for WYPR's newsroom.
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