As the clock winds down on primary election season, Baltimore’s City Council candidates are deploying their campaign cash, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports.

Every vote counts in Baltimore’s City Council races, and many have historically been determined by tight margins. Candidates, seeking to get their names out to voters before May 14, are spending heavily on campaign materials, media spots and direct mailers, the reports show, with some contestants spending and raising enormous sums in the final few weeks alone.

Money isn’t everything in politics — but it acts as a sort of barometer that measures how much enthusiasm a candidate has garnered in any given race. It can also indicate, based on who donates, how likely a candidate is to support certain issues and who they might caucus with in an elected body.

Here are a few takeaways from the latest round of campaign finance reports filed from City Council candidates.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Sonia Eaddy has some cash in the 9th District

In West Baltimore’s 9th District, incumbent John Bullock faces a challenge from three candidates in the Democratic primary, including Sonia Eaddy, who fought and won a campaign to save her Poppleton home from eminent domain.

Eaddy’s only campaign finance report is current through early April, and it shows that she has won some support from small donors — including neighborhood activists and family members.

She and her relatives have also loaned money to the campaign, the report shows. As of April 2, she reported a cash balance of about $7,900.

Bullock brought in about $12,000 in the last round of fundraising, his latest report shows, and he spent a whopping $33,244 on direct mailers over a four-week period in April. He received $1,000 from the AFSCME labor union; $3,000 each from two of the developers behind the slow and ongoing revitalization of Poppleton, where Eaddy lives; $2,000 from the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO political action fund; and $500 from Baltimore Deputy Mayor Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. He reported having about $16,000 left on hand.

Dzirasa, the city’s former health commissioner, donated an equal amount to 9th District candidate Venroy July, a corporate attorney and political newcomer who shares a social circle with Bullock. July raised about $7,600, his last report shows, and has a remaining cash balance of about $32,000.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

1st District stays competitive

In what has shaped up to be one of Baltimore’s most interesting races, the 1st District candidates in Southeast Baltimore raised and spent big money over the last few weeks.

Joseph Koehler, an accountant and Canton volunteer and booster, raised slightly more than challenger Liam Davis in the latest round of financing, with a chunk of his roughly $9,900 influx coming from his personal account and that of at least one relative. He also logged some contributions from businesses, business owners and smaller donors.

Davis, a city government legislative affairs manager who has received broad support from current City Council members and developers with active projects in the city, brought in around $9,500. His donations include a $2,500 contribution from Royal Farms; $1,000 from the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police political action fund; and $1,000 from a commercial leasing company based in Bethesda.

Parker, a pastor in Highlandtown, outraised both Koehler and Davis and reported bringing in more than $12,000. That includes about $775 from investor and entrepreneur Scott Plank; about $1,000 from Castle Rock Realty Management LLC in Dundalk; and about $1,000 from Comptroller Bill Henry’s political action fund. He also received $3,000 from AFSCME’s Working Families Fund after winning their much-coveted endorsement in mid-April.

8th District remains tight

In West Baltimore, 8th District outreach worker and council hopeful Paris Gray brought in around $10,000 last month, with $3,000 of that coming from the AFSCME AFL-CIO headquarters. Another $500 came from the Sierra Club political committee, and the AFL-CIO Maryland political action committee gave $2,500.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Gray also received a boost from some political allies, including his predecessor, outgoing City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett, who has contributed the maximum $6,000 to the campaign; Maryland state Sen. Cory McCray, who gave $350; and state Del. Caylin Young, who donated $250. Former Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement director Shantay Jackson also donated $100 to the Gray campaign.

Former state Del. Bilal Ali has outraised Gray for much of the race and reported having nearly $40,000 on hand in his latest report, more than double the amount of Gray’s remaining cash balance. He raised $8,350 over the last month, with $6,000 coming from his employer, CMDS Management LLC, and $1,750 coming from a self-loan. While Gray has invested heavily in media over the last few weeks, Ali has doubled down on printing, postage and field expenses, their reports show.

A fight in the 12th?

Competing for a third term in office, City Councilman Robert Stokes holds a cash advantage over challenger Jermaine Jones, a longtime labor organizer. The district includes East Baltimore and parts of Harbor East.

Unions have been pouring money into Jones’ campaign over the last few weeks , which reported raising more than $50,000 in April. Last month alone, Jones received $3,000 from 1199 SEIU’s political action fund; $3,000 from the AFSCME labor union; $6,000 from the Construction & Master Laborers Local Union 11; $6,000 from the Laborers District Council PAC Fund; and $6,000 from the Plumbers & Steamfitters UA Local 486.

Jones spent more than $21,000 last month on direct mailers and said he plans to spend every cent before election day. Stokes has spent a roughly equivalent amount on printing and campaign materials and reported a cash balance of more than $102,000; he reported raising only about $2,165 last month.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The two candidates have been battling for endorsements, with Jones landing the backing of the Sierra Club, AFSCME Council 3, Clean Water Action, CASA in Action and the Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund. Stokes has received support from the police and firefighters unions, Baltimore City Sheriff Sam Cogen and City Councilman Eric Costello.

Expensive races elsewhere

Incumbent Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, who represents Northwest Baltimore, and Costello of South Baltimore, are heading into election day with six-figure war chests each. While Schleifer has spent modestly over the last several weeks, Costello has dumped more than $120,000 into printing and campaign materials and field expenses, his latest report shows. He faces political newcomer and marine veteran Zac Blanchard, who is funding his campaign with the city’s newly instituted public financing system and has about $28,000 left on hand.

Costello and Schleifer each donated the maximum $6,000 to the campaign of Margo Bruner-Settles, one of two challengers hoping to unseat incumbent City Councilman Ryan Dorsey in Baltimore’s 3rd District. With the assist from the two incumbents, Bruner-Settles outraised Dorsey by a more than 3-to-1 margin over the last few weeks, the reports show.

Dorsey, who is running for a third term, raised about $3,700 in April and still maintains a cash lead over his competitors. His supporters include AFSCME; Maryland Transit Administration Administrator Holly Arnold; and Bikemore interim Executive Director Jed Weeks.

This article has been updated to correct District 1 candidate Mark Parker's fundraising totals and has been clarified to reflect support from the Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund in the 12th council district.

Hallie Miller covers housing for The Baltimore Banner. She's previously covered city and regional services, business and health at both The Banner and The Baltimore Sun.

More From The Banner