Mayor's schedule full of fund-raisers

He hasn't said if he's running for something, but 8 events are scheduled

March 28, 2002|By Gady A. Epstein | Gady A. Epstein,SUN STAFF

Mayor Martin O'Malley has said he won't decide whether to run for governor until after the legislative session ends April 8, but his fund-raising schedule is filling up like that of a candidate.

O'Malley has eight fund-raisers in a roughly two-month span - from the end of this month through May.

By the end of May, around the time he has said he'll decide what to do about the governor's race, the mayor should have raised more than $1 million, mostly from one event next month.

This O'Malley-for-governor-or-mayor-or-something-else-altogether tour began Sunday with a $35-per-person event at Hammerjacks. It continues Saturday in Chestertown with an event at Chester River Yacht & Country Club, with tickets going for $125 per person and $200 per couple.

Next month, O'Malley has five fund-raisers on his schedule, including three at homes in the city and one in Washington, tentatively scheduled for April 15. He also has one planned at a Baltimore home in May.

Those fund-raisers are small, low-key affairs compared to the event planned for the evening of April 17, when he hopes to raise close to $1 million, or more, at Ravens stadium. Tickets for that evening are $250 and $1,000 per person. He had a similar fund-raiser last year.

The fund-raisers come at a time when O'Malley has stepped up his rhetoric about the governor's race.

O'Malley has been toying publicly for months with the idea of challenging presumed gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for the Democratic nomination. In fall, while not referring to Townsend by name, he described a "vacuum" of leadership in the state and announced that if no one filled that vacuum, he might.

Now, with a fund-raising schedule to match his rhetoric, political observers in Annapolis and Baltimore say he looks like a mayor who wants to run for something.

Since his remarks in the fall, he has spiced up his commentary, blasting the state's top Democrats for sticking to a planned 2 percent cut in the state income tax instead of investing in education, public health and fighting crime.

And last week, he said flatly that if the state's Democrats don't stop acting like Republicans, "then I'll run."

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