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Maryland gubernatorial candidate John B. King Jr. has raised $1 million, according to his campaign

6/11/2021 | Ovetta Wiggins

The Washington Post

Maryland gubernatorial candidate and former U.S. education secretary John B. King Jr. has raised $1 million since launching his bid less than two months ago, according to his campaign.

King is one of six Democrats in the crowded race to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is term-limited.

 Campaign report filings are not due until January, but the early numbers from King’s campaign appear to bode well for the former Obama administration official.

 “We’ve been excited to see the grass-roots support, and the early enthusiasm to get to this benchmark so quickly,” said Joe O’Hern, his campaign manager.

 It remains unclear how expensive the 2022 race could be. But the primary election could require hefty coffers.

Comptroller Peter Franchot’s latest campaign filing in January shows he had $2.2 million on hand. Franchot, who has been in public office for 34 years, jumped into the gubernatorial race last year, the first to officially declare. Other candidates have national networks and the ability to self-finance.

Former attorney general Douglas F. Gansler, who also filed a campaign finance report in January, has $428,000 on hand, according to the most recent filing. Gansler ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2014.

Colin A. Curtis, Gansler’s campaign manager, said Gansler has been focused on talking to Maryland residents and is confident that his fundraising prowess will be as successful as it has been in the past.

Campaign officials for some of the other Democrats in the race Franchot, former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain, Baltimore-based business owner and economist Mike Rosenbaum and author and former chief executive of an anti-poverty foundation Wes Moore — did not return calls about their recent fundraising efforts.

A campaign spokeswoman for Republican candidate Kelly Schulz, who serves as commerce secretary in Hogan’s administration, could not be reached for comment. Also running for the Republican nomination is perennial candidate Robin Ficker, whose campaign account had about $800, according to a January filing.

O’Hern said King’s campaign is trying to “grow the campaign’s reach in Maryland,” using the money to add fundraising, digital, political, research and communication staff.

O’Hern said the campaign has received donations from across the state but would not comment on how much of the funds are local vs. national.

King has tapped into a national network from the Obama administration, where he served as deputy education secretary and secretary from 2015 to 2017; from Harvard University, where he received his undergraduate degree; and from Yale University, where he graduated from law school.

King also has received six donations from members of the Robin Hood Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit organization that Democratic rival Moore led until earlier this year. King previously served on the foundation’s board. Moore, an author, veteran and former CEO of Robin Hood, launched his bid for governor earlier this week.

Because of the pandemic, most of King’s fundraising has been limited to online. He held his first in-person campaign event in Oxon Hill last month.

“The reaction has been very positive and encouraging,” he said. The early money, he said, will “allow us to build infrastructure to win, especially going against multiple millionaires and celebrities. Our ability to make sure folks hear our message will benefit immensely.”