VIPs help in bid for 2002

Townsend collects estimated $500,000 at fund-raising event

November 18, 1999|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Stepping up to the big leagues of Maryland political giving, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend raised an estimated $500,000 last night at a Baltimore fund-raiser for her expected run for governor in 2002.

The event at Port Discovery downtown drew a crowd of about 600, with about half paying $1,000 for a chance to mingle with Townsend during a VIP reception.

Townsend, 48, has held several fund-raisers this year, but last night's brought in the most money by far, aides said.

Townsend said she was thrilled with the support, adding that it's never too early in a campaign to raise money to "create options."

FOR THE RECORD - The spelling of C. William Struever has been corrected for the archive database. See microfilm for original story.

"It's important to build support all the time," she said. "You can never rest easy. You always have to keep working."

With last night's take -- about $470,000 after expenses -- Townsend is positioned to raise more than $1 million by the end of the year, according to aides.

Townsend, who has served with Gov. Parris N. Glendening since 1995, has not formally declared her candidacy for governor but is widely expected to run.

Glendening can not succeed himself in 2002.

Last night's crowd was dominated by Baltimore-area business people, including horse track owner Joseph A. De Francis, banker H. Furlong Baldwin, developer Bill Struever and David Modell, son of the Ravens owner.

Several State House lobbyists also attended, including Gary R. Alexander, Alan M. Rifkin and Paul Tiburzi, as did representatives of a handful of labor unions.

Glennard S. Middleton Sr., executive director of Council 67 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said he used the ticket he was given to thank Townsend in person for her positions on issues.

"She's been right out front on all of our issues, supporting working people," Middleton said.

Glendening was traveling in California yesterday. He is backing Townsend's bid.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller were among lawmakers who attended.

Other Democrats who are considering running for governor include Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Townsend and other potential candidates have raised far more than candidates had at this point in past gubernatorial election cycles.

Duncan had a major fund-raiser in Bethesda last week and is expected to have about $500,000 in the bank when campaign finance reports are filed with the state election board next week.

Ruppersberger, who ended his re-election campaign last fall with about $500,000 in the bank, has amassed more than $1 million, aides say.

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