State Senate Democrats raise about $500,000 at city event

December 04, 1997|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Launching a new era in partisan politics in Maryland, the Democratic members of the state Senate raised about $500,000 at a Baltimore fund-raiser last night to help cement their hold on power in the State House in next year's elections.

Several hundred people attended the event at the downtown Harbor Court Hotel, including business leaders, university officials and most of the State House lobbying corps.

The 32 Democratic senators -- led by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller -- hope to raise as much as $1 million to help their party's incumbents and, in some cases, challengers to incumbent Republicans.

"We've been complacent too long," said Miller, of Prince George's County. "This bodes well for the future of the Maryland Democratic Party."

The aggressive Democratic fund raising represents an unprecedented partisan effort on behalf of Maryland legislative candidates.

With the Democratic leadership of the Senate pushing the event, the $500-a-ticket fund-raiser was considered a must-attend event by many involved in legislative matters.

"You have the Senate president and the chairpersons of every committee in the Senate co-hosting the event," said Joseph De Francis, principal owner of the state's two main thoroughbred horse tracks. "As political fund-raisers go, that makes this a very important event."

Added Dennis C. McCoy, a former delegate who lobbies in Annapolis: "You don't want to be conspicuous by your absence."

In a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-1 advantage in voter registrations, the party has a firm hold on both houses of the General Assembly.

But in the 1994 election, the Maryland GOP saw its numbers in the 141-member House of Delegates climb from 25 to 41. In the Senate, Republican representation went from nine to 15 -- nine short of a majority in the 47-member body.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening told the crowd last night that Democrats should get the credit for the state's thriving economy and decreasing crime rate.

Among those attending were Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell; his coach, Ted Marchibroda; and three of the team's players.

Pub Date: 12/04/97

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