Nearly $275,000 in donations from the Baltimore area flowed into two political committees supporting the successful bid of Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford for Maryland State House in 2014, according to campaign-finance data, compared to a little more than $1 million going to the failed campaigns of Democrats Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman.
The Hogan-Rutherford Committee to Change Maryland, which opted to tap into public financing and was therefore limited in how much it could raise and spend, received $127,373.52 from Baltimore-area donors—benefactors whose addresses were listed as "Baltimore" in campaign-finance reports. Another $146,387.41 went to the Republican State Central Committee of Maryland (RSCC). The average of all 1,333 Baltimore-area donations was $205, a pretty populist mean, almost exactly double the $102 average donation the other publicly financed gubernatorial candidate, progressive Democrat Heather Mizeur, received from Baltimore-area contributors this year.
So who was the GOP's biggest Baltimore-area donor this year? It's a bit dodgy teasing this distinction out of the data, but it appears to be $40,810.91 from a cluster of companies based at 2560 Lord Baltimore Drive in Windsor Mills, the headquarters of St. John Properties, the big real-estate firm whose president and chairman is Edward St. John. In 2011, St. John was fined $55,000 by the Federal Elections Commission for illegally soliciting his employees to contribute to the RSCC in 2006, and then reimbursing them through pay bonuses. Perhaps that's why, this year, all of the St. John's donations went not to the RSCC, but to Hogan's campaign. Other notable Baltimore-area GOP backers are philanthropist Harvey Meyerhoff, who gave $10,000 to the RSCC; two companies associated with developer Carl Julio, Apartment Services, Inc. ($4,000 to Hogan's campaign and $4,000 to the RSCC) and Hopkins Place Management ($4,000 to the RSCC); and the real-estate firm Merritt Properties ($3,000 to Hogan's campaign and $2,750 to the RSCC) and its chairman and CEO Scott Dorsey ($4,000 to Hogan's campaign) and its president Robb Merritt ($4,000 to Hogan's campaign).
Yes, there is a theme here: The GOP's big-ticket Baltimore-area support came overwhelmingly from real-estate interests, which isn't surprising, since Hogan himself is a developer.