District 13 hopefuls boast strong, but opposing, financial backing CAMPAIGN 1994

November 01, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

The District 13 state Senate race has shaped up as a match between a Democrat with strong financial backing from health care and educational organizations and a Republican with generous support from business and industry.

Democratic Del. Virginia M. Thomas received $7,000 from political action committees (PACs), including about $2,000 health-related organizations and $2,300 from the Maryland State Teachers Association, according to campaign finance reports covering the period from Aug. 29 to Oct. 23.

Her Republican opponent, Del. Martin G. Madden, received $8,515 in PAC contributions during the same period, including more than $7,000 from business groups. He also received contributions from a number of individual businesses, including several insurance agencies, The Southland Corp. of Dallas and JC Penney Co. Inc. of Utah.

The two delegates are vying to capture the southeastern Howard seat in the Senate in what is by far the most expensive county campaign for the state legislature, with each candidate raising more than $100,000. Each candidate now represents a different area within District 13.

The contributions seem to break down according to the legislators' professional and legislative backgrounds and campaign platforms. Ms. Thomas, a three-term delegate and psychiatric social worker by profession, has stressed her role as a contributor to major health care reform efforts and as an advocate for the elderly.

The east Columbia delegate is the vice chairwoman of the House Environmental Matters Committee, which considers legislation related to health occupations and general health matters.

Mr. Madden, who represents the Laurel, Savage, Fulton and Elkridge areas, is an independent insurance agent who has presented himself during the campaign as a staunch opponent of tax increases and other measures that could hurt business.

He serves on the House Economic Matters Committee, which considers legislation relating to licensing and regulation, procurement, real estate and property.

Ms. Thomas opposes using public money to provide government vouchers for private school education or other school privatization programs, while Mr. Madden supports exploring such ideas.

"Obviously the educators have endorsed me," Ms. Thomas said.

In the latest reporting period, Mr. Madden received $4,810 from the Maryland Realtors PAC, for $5,760 since 1991. "I've been a consistent supporter of trying to lower closing costs and keeping housing affordable," he said.

Since Aug. 29, he also received $1,000 from the Maryland Greater Washington Board of Trade PAC, $500 from the Maryland Business-Industry PAC and $200 from a Maryland retail merchants group.

Ms. Thomas received $800 from an optometrist association and $400 from a health maintenance organization committee during the past two months. Over the past four years, she has received $1,000 or more from groups representing anesthesiologists, optometrists, psychiatrists and social workers.

Since 1991, Ms. Thomas has received $40,392 in PAC contributions, about one-third of her total campaign treasury of $119,511. Mr. Madden has garnered $29,530 in PAC contributions, about 27 percent of the $109,627 he has raised.

Ms. Thomas said she has raised about three times more money than in any of her previous election bids, largely to seek support in areas Mr. Madden represents.

"My job is to get known in a couple of months in two-thirds of the district. It's not easy to do," she said.

Ms. Thomas has said she also needed a formidable treasury to beat an incumbent in the Democratic primary -- Sen. Thomas M. Yeager.

Mr. Madden, who had no Republican primary opponent, said Ms. Thomas "set a very fast pace early on" in fund raising. "It's forced me to devote more time to fund raising than I anticipated."

His campaign received a $5,500 boost last month from the Maryland House-Senate GOP Committee.

Ms. Thomas has spent $112,717 and Mr. Madden $93,385 on the campaign.

In several county House of Delegates races, Gov. William Donald Schaefer and House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. have weighed in by contributing to first-time Democratic state candidates.

Mr. Taylor's campaign committee contributed $1,000 each to the District 13A campaigns of Shane Pendergrass, a County Council member, and Frank Turner, and $500 each to the District 14B campaigns of Andrew Levy and Carolyn "Casey" Willis.

"People in the county are probably more likely to know who I am than who [the House speaker] is," Ms. Pendergrass said. "I don't think it's going to make a lot of difference" in the election.

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