Marylanders outspending peers in U.S. State ranks 12th in nation in large political donations

October 28, 1998|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

In a campaign season during which state rankings have permeated the debate, Maryland has found a category in which it is clearly outperforming its peers: political high rollers.

Only 19th in population, Maryland ranks 12th in Mother Jones magazine's third annual ranking of the nation's 400 biggest campaign donors, the liberal-leaning publication reports in its most recent issue.

Nine Marylanders cumulatively contributed $808,088 to party organizations, federal candidates and political action committees to earn a spot on the Mother Jones 400.

That marks Maryland as an overachiever compared with other states with which it is frequently compared in economic rankings.

Virginia, often called an economic model by Republicans, ranked 14th with seven generous givers -- despite being 12th in population. North Carolina, often hailed for its robust growth, placed only three Tarheels (ranking 24th) on the list, though it ranks 11th in population.

Nevertheless, no Marylander cracked the top 10 on the list, which was compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics from Federal Election Commission records that do not include state races.

Cynthia Friedman of Chevy Chase was the top-ranking Marylander -- coming in 48th, with $143,150 in gifts to mostly Democratic causes. Friedman, whose company is Union Real Estate, ranked 356th last year.

Among the familiar names on the list was Peter G. Angelos, the wealthy Baltimore lawyer who owns the Baltimore Orioles. He and his wife, Georgia, gave $134,000 -- primarily to Democrats -- to improve his ranking to 54th from 94th last year.

Abe Pollin, the Landover-based owner of the Washington Wizards, gave $56,000 -- again mostly to Democrats -- to finish 225th.

The biggest Republican giver in Maryland was Baltimore businessman Harvey M. Meyerhoff, whose $115,600 in gifts to Republican causes earned him No. 83 on the list -- up from No. 377.

Franklin P. Perdue, the famous "tough man" from Perdue Farms in Salisbury, gave Republican causes $39,435 in gifts. He ranked 355th.

Other Marylanders on the list are:

William and Saundra Dockser of Bethesda, 91st, $109,000 to Democrats.

Carole and David Pensky of Potomac, 146th, $82,653 to Democrats.

Agnes N. Williams of Potomac, 164th, $72,500 to Democrats.

Sheldon B. Kamins of Potomac, 228th, $55,750 to Republicans.

The list covered contributions from Jan. 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998.

Pub Date: 10/28/98

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