Ho­gan fundraiser ex­pected to bring in $1.5 mil­lion

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Erin Cox ecox@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Eri­natTheSun

Repub­li­can Gov. Larry Ho­gan hosted a black-tie fundraiser in a down­town Bal­ti­more ho­tel Thurs­day that was ex­pected to raise $1.5 mil­lion for his re-elec­tion cam­paign.

That sum, con­firmed by a Ho­gan cam­paign ad­viser, would match the amount the first-term gover­nor spent on his en­tire pri­mary cam­paign in 2014.

An in­vi­ta­tion to the gala listed tick­ets at $10,000 to $25,000 per ta­ble. The Bal­ti­more Wa­ter­front Mar­riott ball­room — which seats 1,200 — was ex­pected to be sold out, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the event.

Ho­gan’s for­mer cam­paign man­ager and cur­rent ad­viser, Steve Crim, said at­ten­dees would see an eight- to 10-minute video doc­u­ment­ing the gover­nor’s first two years in of­fice.

Joe Clus­ter, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Mary­land Repub­li­can Party, said the event also would raise some money for the party.

Ho­gan has taken a mostly hands-off ap­proach to the state party, skip­ping ma­jor fundrais­ers and en­dors­ing only a hand­ful of can­di­dates in this year’s elec­tion.

The pop­u­lar gover­nor se­cured a sur­prise win two years ago run­ning on a plat­form of rein­ing in spend­ing. He won the elec­tion in part by per­suad­ing in­de­pen­dents and dis­af­fected Democrats to vote for him.

Ho­gan has por­trayed him­self as a bi­par­ti­san prag­ma­tist in a state in which Democrats out­num­ber Repub­li­cans by more than 2-1. He also has been quick to spar with the Demo­cratic-con­trolled Gen­eral Assem­bly. Public opin­ion polls this year have put the gover­nor’s ap­proval rat­ing above 70 per­cent.

Mary­land cam­paign fi­nance laws cap in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions to can­di­dates at $6,000 per elec­tion cy­cle. But donors can give sep­a­rately to Ho­gan’s re-elec­tion cam­paign and to that of his run­ning mate, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford. They also can give to a fund the state GOP set up to boost voter turnout.

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