- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 30, 2002

ANNAPOLIS (AP) Penny-pinching apparently paid off in the race for governor this year. Campaign finance records show Kathleen Kennedy Townsend paid her campaign staff almost twice as much in defeat as Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. did in victory.
Mrs. Townsend paid more than $1.5 million in salaries and other compensation during her losing Democratic effort.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ehrlich's campaign committee paid its staff a little less than $800,000. He indirectly paid out an additional $110,000 in salaries through a group called Democrats for Ehrlich financed almost entirely out of his campaign treasury.
Records also show that the Ehrlich effort was more effective in fund raising. That's because it channeled more money into activities that communicated directly with potential supporters.
"We were frugal," said Ehrlich spokesman Paul Schurick. "That was our job from Day One. Everyone associated with the campaign knew we wanted to save as much as possible for as long as possible."
In the end, it might have been Mrs. Townsend who waited too long to spend her money.
The reports show that Mrs. Townsend spent $2 million on media in the last 2 weeks of the campaign after many voters apparently had made up their minds on whom they were voting for.
Mr. Ehrlich spent $1.5 million in the final weeks.
Before Oct. 21, he outspent Mr. Townsend $4.9 million to $2.7 million much of it apparently to lock in attractive slots for TV ads in the final weeks. Mr. Ehrlich spent $6.4 million on media, mostly television advertising, and Mrs. Townsend spent $4.7 million.
Mr. Schurick said the Ehrlich campaign paid for a lot of media in advance.
"You lock in the best time slots. You have a greater range of options, and we had the money to do it," Mr. Schurick said.
The finance reports also show that the lieutenant governor spent $565,709 on fund-raising events for her campaign, which took in $8.5 million.
Mr. Ehrlich paid $450,685 for his fund-raisers in an effort that took in $10.4 million.
Peter Hamm, a spokesman for Mrs. Townsend, dismissed questions about the campaign's cost structure. "We weren't getting as good a deal on helicopters," he said, referring to a post-election controversy over Mr. Ehrlich's acceptance of discounted air transportation from a company associated with Sinclair Broadcasting Group.
"It's clear our opponent took advantage of every special relationship with every special interest he possibly could to keep costs down," Mr. Hamm said.
The spokesman defended the salaries paid by the Townsend campaign as a "judgment call."


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