Ball leads Kittleman in campaign finance for Howard County

Recent campaign finance reports show that the two leading candidates running for Howard County executive have plenty of campaign money in the bank.

Incumbent Calvin Ball, of Columbia, a Democrat, has a campaign bank account balance of $878,809.86. Former county executive Allan Kittleman, a Republican from Ellicott City, has $546,362.26, according to reports filed June 14 with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Republicans Molsen Haghighat, of Glenwood, and Darren Vilus, of Columbia, as well as Democrat Harry Dunbar, of Columbia, also have filed to run for county executive, but the state Board of Elections had no campaign finance information listed for them. Calls to each for comment were unsuccessful.

Kittleman received $71,940 from the Howard County Department of Finance, as part of the Citizens’ Election Fund. The fund provides matching county funds based on eligible contributions to eligible candidates. It was created to provide public campaign financing “in an effort to reduce the role of large private contributions during the election process and encourage small private donations,” according to the county. A certified candidate for county executive can receive up to $700,000 in matching funds for the entire election cycle after demonstrating grassroots support by collecting a minimum of 500 individual donations totaling at least $40,000.

The majority of Kittleman’s contributions are smaller amounts from individuals, ranging from $25 to $250.

In September, when Kittleman announced his campaign for county executive, he said he intended to participate in the Citizens’ Election Fund, though during his time as county executive, Kittleman opposed the bill that would go on to create the funding path for candidates who turn down large donations.

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He pledged to reject contributions from political action committees, lobbyists, political parties and businesses or development companies that do business with the county. He said he hoped to have the largest grassroots campaign in Howard County history during his campaign announcement.

Kittleman has spent $62,410.59, according to his report – $44,664.39 for media costs, $11,643.71 for field expenses, $1,968.86 for fundraising, $565.06 for printing and campaign materials, and $58 for postage.

Campaign finance reports show that Ball received contributions of $309,367 during the period of April 5 to June 7; Kittleman raised $99,580 during that time.

Ball’s top contributions came from from Bristol, LLC ($6,000), Buch Construction Inc. ($4,500), and Annapolis Junction Town Center ($1,750).

Ball spent $145,173.64 on his campaign during that timeframe, according to his report. Of that, $66,702 went to field expenses, $52,015.08 to media expenses, $14,658.83 for fundraising, $4,336.27 for printing and campaign materials and $442 for postage.

This is not the first time Ball and Kittleman have faced off in a race for Howard County executive. In the 2018 election, Kittleman was the incumbent and Ball was a Howard County Council member. Ball won that election and has held the seat for the past four years.

The primary election is July 19.