Roger B. Hayden has found that being the incumbent Baltimore County executive makes fund-raising much easier than it was in 1990, when he was running for the office as an outsider, a novice political candidate with a total campaign budget of $130,000.
Finance reports filed in Annapolis recently show that Hayden now has a campaign fund balance of $144,378, which includes $40,000 contributed in chunks of $1,000 or more by the kind of big spenders he had a hard time attracting during the campaign.
His financial fortunes contrast sharply with those of most of the five upstart freshmen County Council members who won election on the same tide of voter discontent that swept him into office and his opponent, Dennis F. Rasmussen, out.
Vincent Gardina, D-5th, who represents White Marsh-Perry Hall, is in the worst shape by far due to a series of loans he made to his own campaign over the past 18 months. According to the reports filed in Annapolis, Gardina's campaign balance is $9,414, but he owes $9,788. Of that, he owes himself $9,458. He said the loans came from his own savings, and he is planning a $25-a-ticket fund-raiser in May to recoup the loss and provide seed money for later events.
Council chairman Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, of Towson, is next poorest, with a balance of $502, followed by William A. Howard 4th, R-6th, of Fullerton, with $965 as of Nov. 26.
"Everybody told me I should be raising money this year," Riley said, "but we're all trying to figure out how to govern."
Riley and Howard said they're planning fund-raisers early next year.
By way of contrast, Dundalk's Donald C. Mason, D-7th, looks prosperous, with a $2,484 balance. Berchie Lee Manley, R-1st, of Catonsville, is in the best financial shape of all the newcomers, with $3,000 in her campaign account as of early November.
She said she held a $40-a-ticket fund-raiser Nov. 15 that netted over $4,000 more for her treasury.
The two council veterans, Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-3rd, who represents the north county, and Melvin G. Mintz, D-2nd, of Pikesville-Randallstown, are far ahead of their freshman counterparts.
Ruppersberger's campaign showed a balance of $79,700, most of it from a recent fund-raiser, and Mintz has $50,123 salted away -- money he has had in the bank since the 1990 election.
Hayden and several of the council candidates have benefited from the predictable contributors -- the lawyers, builders, county labor groups and trash haulers who buy fund-raiser tickets for virtually any incumbent.
Clay Stambaugh Refuse Service Inc., of the 9200 block of Harford Road was one of the most generous, giving $3,000 to Hayden over the past year and smaller amounts to various council campaigns.