Joe Volz: An uphill financial climb for Young for governor -- Gazette.Net







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Blaine Young has one major battle in his bid for governor — finding the campaign funds.

Will he be able to raise enough? No.

He is a victim of the huge spending all candidates are forced to make these days.

Gov. Marty OíMalley (D) spent almost $14 million when he won re-election two years ago, and two-time loser, former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) raised $8 million.

Thatís big league spending. On the other hand, Blaine set records winning an alderman slot and, later, a county commissioner job.

But raising money for those two jobs is strictly bush league compared to running for statewide office.

This time around he is giving it the college try — at least two fundraisers for the primary where he hopes to raise $300,000 to $500,000.

That might be OK for rhe primary but not for the general election.

Blaine figures he has the little guys — he will need a lot of them — on his side and companies distraught at all the government regulation. The trucking business, for example, unhappy with a lot of fees and regulations, will see Blaine as a pleasant relief from whomever the Democratic candidate is. And other businesses and small property owners might find relief, too.

But that is not going to raise a lot of money.

Blaine says he is testing the waters in the primary, and if he canít raise enough money, he wonít run.

I donít believe that for a minute. I remember a few years back when I ran for the school board, Blaine criticized me when I dropped out after winning the primary. I finished fourth for three spots and would have had to campaign six more months and ask contributors for more money.

Added to that, no one who finished fourth had every won a seat in the general election for three spots since that system had been put into effect. I figured I could do better volunteering as a staffer.

But Blaine was unhappy. He said I had wasted everyoneís time and money.

So I canít see if he raises $200,000, he will quit there. Blaine tells me he will not run for any other seat — at least in the next couple of elections —so he will sit it out if he doesnít win the governorship.

The state is so heavily Democratic — more than two to on — that it is tough for a Republican to win. Ehrlich won one term but only because his opponent, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, ran such a moribund campaign. This time, the Dems have three heavy hitters — Attorney General Doug Gansler, who I consider the favorite, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

All are good campaigners and speakers and have piles of cash.

Blaine doesnít want to be called a quitter so I suspect he will run in the general election if he wins the primary.

After all, what would he do if he lost?

Go back to driving a cab?

Joe Volz, a former Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written for newspapers in New York and Washington. You can reach him at To submit a letter to the editor in response to this column, email