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Politicsby Mark Reutter4:15 pmJun 29, 20160

Pugh seeks to pay off campaign debts tonight

Above: A flyer circulated to previous campaign donors on behalf of Catherine Pugh. (Committee to Elect Catherine E. Pugh)

Democratic nominee for mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, will be holding a fundraiser tonight at the Baltimore Convention Center to try to pay off the substantial debts she incurred during the primary race, including a last-minute loan from Jim Smith, the two-term Baltimore County executive and former Maryland Secretary of Transportation.

Pugh recently acknowledged an approximately $100,000 loan from Smith, which came after the April 10 deadline for the filing of pre-primary finance reports by candidates and had not been previously disclosed by Pugh or her campaign.

While she said she was not privy to the specifics of the loan, she understood it came from the “Baltimore County Victory Slate,” which had received a $476,380 cash infusion from Smith in 2014 just before he closed down his political committee, “Friends of Jim Smith.”

The Mayor’s Circle

In addition to the Smith loan, Pugh has conceded that her campaign committee owes at least $100,000-$150,000 to vendors and others – expenses she ran up as she eked out a narrow victory over former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the April 26 primary.

Pugh said she was not aware of the exact debt figures, but said the information will be provided in her pre-general election finance report filed later this summer.

At tonight’s fundraiser, the state Senate from the 40th District will privately meet and greet $6,000 campaign donors, dubbed the “Mayor’s Circle,” between 5 and 6 p.m.

This will be followed by a reception for the “Leadership Group” ($2,500 minimum donations) between 6 and 7 p.m., and “Friends of Catherine” ($500 minimum) between 7 and 8 p.m.

$6,000 is the legal maximum that can be given by a person or corporation to a non-federal campaign account in Maryland.

Pugh reported raising $1.15 million before April 10, the second highest total for a mayoral candidate following David Warnock, a venture capitalist who personally loaned his campaign committee over $1.5 million.

In the November general election, she faces a Republican candidate, Alan Walden, who received 1/16th of her votes in the primary, the Green Party’s Joshua Harris and several others.

For More on the Mix of Politics and Money in Maryland:

Strong ties to UM Medical System bring Pugh campaign cash (3/5/16)

This year Sagamore will be at the Las Vegas convention populated by city officials (5/4/16)

A governor, a mayor and a probable mayor gather in Vegas (5/23/16)

Pest control mogul gave over $100,000 to Maryland politicians (5/27/16)

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