Bentley says donations top $1 million CAMPAIGN 1994 -- GOVERNORS RACE '94

August 10, 1994|By Robert Timberg | Robert Timberg,Sun Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley said she topped $1 million in total campaign contributions with a major Baltimore area reception last night, giving her a substantial lead over her two rivals for the Republican nomination for governor.

"This event puts us over the million-dollar mark in raising funds for this campaign," Mrs. Bentley told an estimated 400 supporters last night. "This shows the strength we have."

The reception at Martin's West, a Woodlawn catering hall, was expected to raise at least $50,000, said Jacqueline L. Phillips, Mrs. Bentley's senior campaign aide.

Campaign spokesman Key Kidder said the take could go as high as $100,000 when all the receipts are counted. Tickets for the event were $150. For $500, guests could attend an earlier reception.

Last night's crowd included a sprinkling of people who have been close over the years to Democratic Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who encouraged Mrs. Bentley to enter the GOP race.

They included state Licensing Secretary William A. Fogle Jr.; state schools Superintendent Nancy A. Grasmick and her husband, lumber dealer Louis Grasmick; state Health Secretary Nelson J. Sabatini; and bakery magnate John Paterakis, among others.

"Helen is a friend," said Mr. Fogle. "I think she'd make a tremendous governor."

Mrs. Bentley, in her remarks, sounded a strong pro-business theme and promised to make a major effort to attract new industry to the state.

"If elected governor . . . I will seek to solve problems in a way that always places business first, because thriving businesses provide well-paying jobs for working people and revenue for the state coffers," she said.

Ms. Phillips predicted that after last night's event, the campaign would have about $150,000 in the bank when candidates file campaign finance reports with the state board of elections next week.

But even as Bentley aides touted the fund-raising prowess of the five-term Baltimore County congresswoman, there were indications that the campaign has not fully shaken off the fund-raising doldrums that seemed to plague it last month.

To enhance the flow of dollars, Ms. Phillips, Mrs. Bentley's campaign manager since May, last week was given the new title of campaign director -- and with it, primary responsibility for coordinating the money-raising operation.

"This gives me more time to focus on a primary objective, fund raising, getting enough money in there to do all the things we need to do," she said.

Is the campaign still facing money problems? "Fund-raising is always a priority in a campaign," Ms. Phillips replied.

On July 13, Mrs. Bentley, who leads the GOP field by a large margin in the polls, sent out a fund-raising letter pleading for a fresh infusion of funds, saying that her campaign kitty -- which she had described at $700,000 two weeks earlier -- had dwindled through expenditures to below $50,000.

"I must have your support now. And I will never forget it," she said in a handwritten notation, a common technique to personalize fund-raising letters.

Ms. Philips said the adjustment of duties in no way signaled a staff upheaval of the sort that undercut the campaign of Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, a Democratic candidate who has slipped from first to fourth in the polls since January.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the Republican leader of the Maryland House, has raised "in excess of half a million" dollars so far, a campaign spokesman said yesterday.

William S. Shepard, the 1990 Republican standard bearer, said his campaign would report an estimated $160,000 in total receipts next week. He said a major statewide fund-raiser was planned for Aug. 30.

REGISTER TO VOTE

Monday is the last day to register to vote in Maryland's Sept. 13 primary elections. You can learn where to register by calling Sundial, The Baltimore Sun's telephone information service.

For most users, the number to dial is (410) 783-1800. But in Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338.

Then, using a Touch-Tone phone, punch in the appropriate four-digit code after you hear the greeting to get information about where you live:

* Anne Arundel -- 6181

* Baltimore -- 6182

* Baltimore County -- 6183

* Carroll County -- 6184

* Harford County -- 6185

* Howard County -- 6186

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