Brock outspends rivals during second quarter

July 16, 1994|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Washington Bureau of The Sun

WASHINGTON -- Former Tennessee Sen. William E. Brock III outspent his major rivals in Maryland's U.S. Senate race by better than a 2-1 margin during the second quarter of the year, investing $463,000 in a campaign that polls indicate has yet to capture the voters' attention.

Overall, the 63-year-old Republican spent $823,660 on his campaign to unseat Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes during the first half of this year, according to a campaign finance report released yesterday. Much of that money was his own: The millionaire candy heir reported lending $390,000 to his election effort.

"He has made contributions to get us up and going," said Steve Watson, Mr. Brock's campaign manager, who said that the candidate is willing to spend up to $600,000 of his own money on his campaign. "Now the campaign is starting to attract the kind of contributions that are necessary," Mr. Watson said.

Mr. Brock, who lives in Annapolis, reported $109,347 on hand for his campaign as of June 30.

His leading opponent for the Republican nomination, Montgomery County businesswoman Ruthann Aron, 51, reported spending $144,073 on her campaign from April to June, bringing her total expenses this year to $197,800. Her campaign raised $153,039 during the three-month reporting period and had $211,000 on hand as of June 30.

Mrs. Aron, who also is a millionaire, reported lending $120,000 to her campaign this year, including $20,000 during the second quarter.

Mr. Sarbanes, 61, a three-term incumbent from Baltimore who faces no significant primary opposition, reported raising $702,000 during the second quarter of 1994. His campaign spent $196,110 during that period, bringing total expenditures for the year to $264,177. The campaign reported $1.2 million in reserve on June 30. Exhibiting the muscle of incumbency, Mr. Sarbanes raised more than $185,000 from political action committees during the second quarter, bringing total PAC contributions this year to $310,658.

The volume of Mr. Sarbanes' PAC contributions prompted Mrs. Aron's campaign manager, Craig Estey, to charge that the incumbent "is supported by people who appear before the [Senate] Banking Committee," of which Mr. Sarbanes is a member.

Michael Davis, Mr. Sarbanes' campaign manager, defended the

PAC contributions, saying they reflect the current campaign finance rules.

"I don't think we're vulnerable to any criticism on that, not from those two multimillionaires," he said. "The senator has voted for and supported campaign reform [to limit PAC contributions]. But he's not going to do unilateral disarmament. He's going to operate under the rules as they exist."

Republican state Del. C. Ronald Franks, an Eastern Shore dentist, reported expenditures of $21,732 between April and June, with $8,100 on hand as of June 30.

While the Brock campaign has spent heavily, the investment has yet to pay apparent dividends among voters, according to a poll conducted last month for The Sun and other news organizations.

The survey showed Mr. Brock running neck-and-neck with Mrs. Aron for the Republican nomination, but more than half the respondents from both parties didn't recognize him or any Republican candidate.

Brock campaign officials said they weren't discouraged by the showing, pointing out that the same poll showed that nearly one-fourth of the respondents had an unfavorable view of Mr. Sarbanes. That fueled hopes that Mr. Brock will be well positioned once voters tune into the campaign as the Sept. 13 primary and Nov. 8 general election approach.

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