Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown edged out potential rivals for next year's gubernatorial contest in fundraising last year, taking in $1.25 million in contributions.
Attorney General Douglas M. Gansler and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman were close behind, with $1.24 million and $1.14 million, respectively, according to campaign finance reports due Wednesday.
Gansler continues to hold an advantage in the amount of money in the bank, with $5.2 million, largely because he ran for re-election without opposition in 2010. Ulman has $2.1 million in cash on hand, while Brown has $1.6 million.
A fourth potential candidate, Montgomery County Del. Heather Mizeur, reported that she collected $248,671 in 2012, leaving the race's relative newcomer with more than $380,000 in cash on hand.
None of the four Democrats is a declared candidate, but each is widely expected to run to replace the term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley.
On the Republican side, Harford County Executive David R. Craig and Frederick County Commission President Blaine Young are considered potential gubernatorial candidates. Earlier this week, Young reported having raised $445,651, with $341,936 remaining in the bank.
Young is a favorite of the conservative wing of the Maryland Republican Party. He had a sizable presence at last month's Republican state convention in Howard County.
As of last evening, Craig had neither filed nor released a summary of his fundraising. Officials with Craig's campaign organization did not return calls. The deadline to file was midnight.
On the Democratic side, Ulman surprised some by keeping pace with two rivals who hold statewide office.
"You wouldn't think that Ulman would be able to pull in that kind of money," said Donald F. Norris, chairman of the public policy department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. "You would think the other candidates would be ahead of him, but he's been out there on the hustings."
In a statement released by his campaign organization, Brown welcomed the results.
"I am pleased with our fundraising success and honored to have the support of so many people across Maryland," he said. "I look forward to continuing to move Maryland forward with the help of thousands of committed friends and neighbors."
Doug Thornell, a senior adviser to Gansler's campaign committee, said the attorney general's numbers are "impressive" because he has been focused on his job, not fundraising.
"We are thrilled to have a dedicated and rapidly growing base of supporters that stretches all across Maryland," Thornell said.
Ulman's support among voters in statewide polls has been in the single digits, leading some to speculate that he would settle for the lieutenant governor spot on another candidate's ticket.
In an interview, Ulman said he was "flattered" to be mentioned for any statewide office but stressed that he's still looking at the top job.
"Clearly, I'm getting a let of encouragement to run for governor," he said.
The Ulman campaign released figures Wednesday showing that the Howard executive raised about 58 percent of his money from outside his home county. Roughly 33 percent came from other jurisdictions in the Baltimore region.
Ulman said the time he spent as president of the Maryland Association of Counties in 2011 had been "tremendously helpful" in getting to know elected officials from other parts of the state.
Gansler, meanwhile, drew on national contacts he made as president of the National Association of Attorneys General. Roughly $500,000 of last year's contributions came from out of state.
Brown has been spending at a faster pace. For instance, while Gansler reported spending $99,448 last year, Brown had expenditures of $425,171. Ulman spent $308,855 and Mizeur $110,375.
While Mizeur's contributions total puts her far behind Brown, Gansler and Ulman, she cast her report in a positive light. The lawmaker pointed out that in the 10 weeks between Nov. 1 and Jan. 9, the close of the reporting period, she raised $155,671. Mizeur's campaign compared that with Gov. Martin O'Malley's performance in the equivalent period before his 2010 re-election, when he raised only $93,976.
Norris said a little-known delegate seeking the governorship faces long odds, but he didn't count anyone out.
"This is very early and is very fluid. A lot of things can happen," he said.
Also reporting Wednesday was Comptroller Peter Franchot, who announced last month that he would seek re-election to that office after being considered a likely Democratic candidate for governor for most of last year. He reported having raised $519,118 last year.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times