JOE CURRAN IS sending an early signal that, after four terms as Maryland attorney general, he isn't ready to retire.
Curran, 69, presided over a fund-raiser in Little Italy last night that brought in an estimated $100,000 for his re-election campaign in two years.
"This is the first of what will be several toward the 2002 election," Curran said. "It's my intention to seek election, sure."
By the next election, Curran will have been in the attorney general's office for 16 years. But he says he continues to find it challenging.
Curran has in some respects redefined the role of the office, using it to advance policy positions on several hot-button issues. He came out last year with a lengthy report calling for an end to private handgun ownership, for example. He also has been outspoken on issues such as domestic violence and violence in movies and music.
"We've got a great office, and we're usually on the cutting edge of most issues and intend to continue it," Curran said.
Although no major candidates have talked about challenging Curran, he said it never hurts to raise big money early to make sure people know you're serious about running again.
Campaigning around Md. - and from the kitchen
George W. Bush's Maryland campaign also is working hard to raise money to boost the Texas governor's candidacy here, with three fund-raisers around the state this week.
Tomorrow night, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska will be the featured guest at a home in West Friendship - with tickets costing up to $500 each. Later in the week, Bush's sister, Doro Bush Koch of Montgomery County, will be the honoree at a Kent County affair.
And Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who challenged Bush in the Republican primaries, will speak Saturday at another Eastern Shore party, this one benefiting both Bush and Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest.
Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee will make a stop in Montgomery County for Bush in October.
With scarce resources, the Maryland Bush effort has no paid staff and is relying on volunteers.
"With computer technology and e-mail, I've been able to keep this campaign afloat for a year out of my kitchen with no secretarial help, no office, no anything," said Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Bush's Maryland chairwoman.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Democratic Party has tapped a Glendening administration official to run its "coordinated" statewide campaign on behalf of Al Gore and the rest of the party's ticket.
Will Castleberry, a marketing official in the state aviation administration, will take a leave of absence from government work to run the Democratic effort.
Birthday gifts discouraged, but remember him in 2002
Major F. Riddick Jr., Gov. Parris N. Glendening's chief of staff, is having a little bash tonight to celebrate his 50th birthday.
A huge crowd is expected to gather at a Greenbelt ballroom to toast Glendening's longtime top assistant.
The event appears to be more than just a birthday party because Riddick is considering running for Prince George's County executive in 2002 in what appears to be a wide-open race.
The party, though, is not a fund-raiser because Riddick has not formed a formal campaign committee.
Guests are paying $40 a head, with the proceeds being used to pay for the bash. The invitation urges, "No gifts please."
Taken from the annals of drab fund-raising letters
Although you can say many things about the General Assembly, you can't readily accuse it of being an overly partisan place.
With the Democrats enjoying lopsided majorities in both the Senate and House of Delegates, the powers-that-be often don't have to bother with political fighting with the Republican minority.
Republicans have two basic options: declare partisan war on the Democrats - and be left on the margins of the legislative process - or keep the attacks to a minimum and do what they can to shape new laws.
Sen. Alex X. Mooney has apparently declared war.
Consider the fund-raising letter the conservative Frederick County Republican recently sent to supporters.
"Parris Glendening and the radical left sneer at conservatives like you and me who object to their outrageous behavior," Mooney's letter declares. "I know the liberals are poised to do everything they can to force me out of the Senate."
Continuing, the 29-year-old Mooney writes: "I'm the most vocal advocate for conservative principles in the Senate. Liberals like Governor Glendening and the Kennedys despise nearly everything I stand for and are poised to go all out to defeat me."