Glendening leads in fund raising CAMPAIGN 1994 -- THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

August 17, 1994|By Robert Timberg and Thomas W. Waldron | Robert Timberg and Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writers

Parris N. Glendening is awash in gold.

Mr. Glendening, the front-running Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has been raising campaign funds at a record clip -- surpassing the $3 million mark and outdistancing the leading Republican candidate by a 3-to-1 margin, according to campaign spending reports filed yesterday in Annapolis.

The report shows also that Mr. Glendening still has more than $1 million in the bank and available for use in the four weeks left before the Sept. 13 primary election. His nest egg gives him more cash on hand for the closing weeks of the primary campaign than the six other major Democratic and Republican candidates for governor put together.

"The amount of money we have remaining will allow us the opportunity to communicate our positive, substantive message of progress for the state directly to the voters in the last four weeks before the primary," Mr. Glendening said in a prepared statement.

The other candidates are not pikers. Two others -- U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, a Republican, and Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, a Democrat -- have raised more than $1 million, and three other candidates have raised a half-million dollars or more.

Common Cause/Maryland, the self-proclaimed citizens' lobby, decried the the continued greening of Maryland politics.

"The price of running for office is skyrocketing out of control," said Deborah Povich, the executive director. She urged spending limits and partial public financing.

Mr. Glendening is on a record-breaking pace. In 1986, then-candidate William Donald Schaefer raised a record $3.5 million in his successful gubernatorial campaign. By early October of that year, however, Mr. Schaefer had $2.7 million in his coffers.

For the moment, Mr. Schaefer remains in first place historically among candidates in fund raising. In 1988, however, pro-gun forces, led by the National Rifle Association, spent $6.6 million in a failed bid to overturn the state's handgun control law.

Mrs. Bentley, who leads the three-person GOP field in the polls, reported raising $1.1 million since jumping into the race last November, substantially more than her closest rival.

Mrs. Bentley, a five-term congresswoman representing a Baltimore County-based district, also reported more than $308,000 in the bank even though she said in a fund-raising letter dated July 13 that her campaign account had dwindled to $50,000.

In response to questions, she said the account went from $50,000 to the $308,000 in a matter of weeks, thanks in part to publicity surrounding her letter and the financial problems she bemoaned in it.

Running second behind Mr. Glendening in fund raising was Mr. Steinberg, the one-time Democratic front-runner who has been struggling to right his campaign after months of staff upheavals.

Mr. Steinberg, who had plunged to fourth place among Democrats in poll published last month, reported contributions of more than $1.6 million. He reported having about $265,000 in the bank.

But Mr. Steinberg's total included two loans from himself totaling $150,000, redeeming his pledge to dig deeply into his own pockets in order to run a competitive campaign.

A campaign spokesman, M. Hirsh Goldberg, said Mr. Steinberg was prepared to give more of his own money.

"He will do personally what has to be done," Mr. Goldberg said. "Mickey feels he will have the funds available for a full media campaign through Sept. 13."

Putting a good face on daunting news, Mr. Goldberg said that all of Mr. Glendening's money would only make him beholden to special interests.

Last November, Mr. Steinberg reported raising about $1.2 million. Since then, he has come up with another $509,000, including the $150,000 loan.

By contrast, Mr. Glendening reported contributions of $1.5 million in November, and he has since doubled that amount while surging into the lead in the polls.

While it appeared that Mr. Glendening pulled in the bulk of his contributions from his home base of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, he also attracted significant amounts from the Baltimore area.

Sprinkled among his list of contributors were several developers, contractors and law firms.

In all, Mr. Glendening has collected almost $172,000 from dozens of political action committees, by far the highest among the candidates.

His running mate, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, appeared to be attracting some financial support, including $1,000 from her brother, U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Three other candidates, two Democrats and one Republican, ended the period with significant amounts of cash on hand, thanks in part to infusions of state matching funds.

State Sen. Mary H. Boergers, a Democrat from Montgomery County, raised $331,000 during the nine-month period, bringing her campaign total to $578,000, including $83,700 in state matching funds. She reported just under $109,000 in the bank.

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