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Two GOP candidates outspend opponents

October 31, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Republicans in two state delegates races in Washington County - one incumbent and one challenger - are outraising and outspending Democratic opponents by wide margins.

Campaign finance reports show that Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. has raised more than four times as much money as his Democratic foe, Brian K. Grim, and spent more than five times as much.

Myers is seeking a second term in Subdistrict 1C, which includes parts of Washington and Allegany counties.

The money difference is similar in Subdistrict 2C, where Republican Paul Muldowney is trying to unseat four-term Democrat John P. Donoghue.

Muldowney has outspent Donoghue by a 5-1 margin - $62,190 to $12,513 - and has taken in almost $75,000 this year, more than twice what Donoghue has raised.

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Subdistrict 2C has roughly the same boundaries as the city of Hagerstown.

Candidates say they're raising money and spending what's necessary to get their messages out.

Myers focuses on one topic at a time, such as guns or education, for direct-mail pieces. Sometimes, one piece goes to Washington County residents and another to Allegany County.

His campaign had about $70,000 in January and has raised about $64,000 more, according to finance reports filed by Oct. 27, the last deadline before the Nov. 7 general election.

In his first run for office, Grim said he's running a "people campaign" on a lower budget - about $13,000, about what he expected. "I have raised money locally rather than from large corporations," he said.

He said he is focusing on personal appearances over media ads.

Myers, who owns a Clear Spring general contracting company, said business people support him for looking out for their interests in Annapolis.

The largest donation to his campaign this year was $2,000, both from Curt Spicher Properties LLC and from Bragunier Masonry Contractors.

Grim has taken in $2,000 once - from the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Social Workers' political action committee.

Muldowney's campaign was most active in the spring, when it took in more than $36,000 from tickets to fundraisers, and late last year, as people and businesses donated $1,000 and $2,000 at a time. The top donation was $4,000 by Michael Murray of Hagerstown.

Donoghue's campaign has taken in more money from political action committees, including a few from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio, than individuals. Donations have come from labor trade unions and the cable TV, real estate and beverage industries, among others.

But health-trade groups from Washington County and across the state are most prevalent. The largest donation this year was $2,000 by Physicians for Tort Reform PAC in Annapolis.

Donoghue, known for being active in medical issues, said groups that "appreciate the ability to work with you" contribute money.

Asked about his large fundraising disadvantage, Donoghue said Muldowney, a former delegate, still has ties to a wealthy section of Washington County that he used to represent.

By contrast, the city of Hagerstown, as a whole, is less well off. "My constituents don't have six-figure incomes," Donoghue said, so he doesn't rely on them for money.

Muldowney couldn't be reached Monday.

A month ago, Republicans criticized Donoghue for an Annapolis fundraising breakfast that they said showed how distant he is from constituents.

Although the invitation listed donation levels of $250, $500 and $1,000, Donoghue said Monday that people didn't have to buy tickets to attend.

He said people came and went, so it was tough to know how many attended, and some who didn't go sent donations, so it's impossible to know how much money was raised.

Donoghue's Oct. 27 finance report didn't delineate which money came from the fundraiser.

In the Sept. 2 to Oct. 27 filing period, Muldowney outspent Donoghue $40,276 to $3,481.

The largest expense was $18,000 to Targeted Creative Communications of Alexandria, Va., to produce and send three direct-mail pieces. His campaign also paid The Tarrance Group, also of Alexandria, $8,733 for a "survey of voter attitudes."

Three other Washington County state representatives - Del. Christopher B. Shank, Del. Robert A. McKee and Sen. Donald F. Munson, all Republicans - are running unopposed.

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