Seven state legislators seeking congressional nominations in the March 3 primary may raise funds during the General Assembly session that begins today, but other members are expected to follow the informal prohibition against such fund-raising.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell agreed to waive the 3-year-old ban on fund-raising during the session, Mr. Miller said, rather than force the seven to flout the rule, which is voluntary and carries no penalty.
Even Phil Andrews of Common Cause Maryland had no problem with the lifting of the ban.
"It seems like a reasonable thing to do," Mr. Andrews said. "Because of the calendar, they have no choice but to raise money between now and March 3."
Delegate John C. Astle, D-Anne Arundel, a candidate in the 1st District primary, said the decision is a boon for him and other candidates, such as Delegate Samuel Q. Johnson III, D-Wicomico.
The two are part of a six-person field in the 1st that includes U.S. Representative Tom McMillen, who switched after his current district, the 4th, was carved up during the redistricting process.
"One of the problems that 'Q' and I are having is that it's going to be difficult to raise the kind of money McMillen has," Mr. Astle said.
Other legislators on the March 3 primary ballot are: Delegate Dana Lee Dembrow, D-Montgomery, and Sen. Albert R. Wynn, D-Prince George's, both candidates in the new 4th District; Delegate Thomas H. Hattery, D-Frederick, running in the 6th District against U.S. Representative Beverly B. Byron. In the Republican primary, state delegates John J. Bishop and Martha S. Klima, both of Baltimore County, will run to pick a candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.