Glendening piles up campaign donations $1.58 million coffer dwarfs foes' bankroll

Campaign 1998

November 11, 1997|By Thomas W. Waldron and William F. Zorzi Jr. | Thomas W. Waldron and William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Craig Timberg contributed to this article.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening accelerated his fund raising in the past year and now has about $1.58 million in the bank, an amount that dwarfs the combined total available to his three main challengers a year before the election, according to state reports filed yesterday.

Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend reported raising just over $1 million in the past year, bringing their total to $2.1 million since the 1994 election.

A year away from the 1998 election, Glendening appears to be in somewhat better financial shape than he was at the same point in his first gubernatorial campaign -- a race in which he set a state record by spending $5.3 million.

At this juncture in the 1994 campaign, Glendening, then-Prince George's County executive, had about $1 million in the bank.

"We're pleased by this, even though the governor refrained from raising money during the legislative session" that ended in April, said Tim Phillips, Glendening's campaign manager. "It says something about the broad range of support the governor has."

Ellen R. Sauerbrey, who lost to Glendening in 1994 and is favored to be the Republican nominee next year, reported raising just over $1 million since the last election, including nearly $850,000 in the past year.

After subtracting substantial amounts spent on fund raising and other expenses, Sauerbrey reported $424,500 in cash on hand -- about a quarter of Glendening's bankroll.

Despite the disparity in campaign bank accounts, Sauerbrey said she was pleased.

"For a Republican in Maryland to raise over $1 million a year before the general election is significant," she said in a statement.

At this point in the 1994 campaign, Sauerbrey had raised only about $100,000. But she ended up raising about $1.8 million, much of it public matching funds.

Among Sauerbrey's larger contributors in the past year were McCormick and Co. Inc., which gave $2,000; chicken producer Frank Perdue and his wife, Mitzi, who each gave $1,000; and the Maryland Arms Collectors Association, which gave $4,000.

Unlike the other candidates, Glendening gave reporters only a summary, without the list of contributors and expenditures. Those documents were being mailed to the state election board and were postmarked in time to meet the board's filing deadline yesterday.

Deborah Povich, executive director of Common Cause/Maryland, the government watchdog group, likened the fund raising to an "auction."

"Until we control the costs of campaigns through voluntary spending limits and provide alternative funding sources, this will be the way we elect candidates," Povich said. "It's a sorry way to elect candidates."

Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who is challenging Glendening for the Democratic nomination, reported raising $483,013, including $334,864 in the past year.

Among her contributors were several businesses from her home county and comic book dealer Stephen Geppi, who chipped in $2,500; Baltimore businessman Louis J. Grasmick, who gave $1,500; and Integrated Health Services Inc., the Owings Mills health care giant, which contributed $2,500.

The $335,000 raised by Rehrmann in the past year was "about where we expected to be," said George F. Harrison, spokesman for campaign.

Harrison shrugged off Glendening's financial figures.

"We would expect an incumbent governor to raise a substantial sum, much more than a challenger at this point," Harrison said. "We're not looking to match him dollar for dollar."

Keith Haller, president of Potomac Inc., a Bethesda polling firm, said Glendening, Sauerbrey and even Rehrmann all showed impressive fund-raising efforts.

Glendening, he pointed out, was "smartly" hording his money for a crunch just before the election, unlike the other two.

But Haller was also struck by the Rehrmann campaign's willingness to spend money now to reach voters. "Obviously they took the risk of spending some serious money," he said.

Sauerbrey's opponent for the Republican nomination, Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, reported raising $124,681 in the past 12 months, bringing his total to $142,524. He has $86,550 in cash for his long-shot attempt to unseat Sauerbrey as the GOP nominee for governor.

Ecker's list of more than 600 contributors is dominated by Howard County residents, with many of the largest contributions coming from local developers.

The family of Harry "Chip" Lundy, a longtime Ecker supporter and the head of Williamsburg Builders in Columbia, gave $10,000. Five officials of Security Development Corp. in Ellicott City combined to give $10,100.

The committee for former Republican Rep. Helen Delich Bentley -- whom Sauerbrey beat in the 1994 GOP primary -- gave Ecker $1,000.

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