Steele, Cardin to post fundraising


Two leading candidates for U.S. Senate are expected to post comparable fundraising totals for the first three months of this year in a race that is likely to require record spending, campaign officials said yesterday.

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, will report having nearly $1.8 million in the bank at the end of the first quarter, compared with Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin's $2.6 million on hand, the campaigns said.

The quarterly campaign finance reports, which are due at the Federal Election Commission this weekend, will show that Steele has out-raised Cardin this year - $1.3 million to the Democrat's $950,000.

"This makes it clear that Marylanders are tired of this Washington-style politics as usual," said Steele spokeswoman Melissa Sellers.

Fundraising totals are important now for the crowded field of Democrats who are preparing to face off in the September primary. Cardin has led that pack, but many campaigns said yesterday they are not prepared to disclose numbers.

"Thousands of Marylanders are investing in Ben Cardin's campaign because they want a principled, effective Democrat to represent them," Cardin campaign spokesman Oren Shur said in a statement.

An official with former Rep. Kweisi Mfume said the campaign was not prepared to release its totals yesterday but might have them available today.

The candidates are seeking to replace Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who announced last spring that he would not seek re-election.

For the reporting period that ended in December, Mfume had about $125,000 on hand, compared with $787,000 for Steele and $2.2 million for Cardin.

University professor Allan J. Lichtman, also a Democrat, said he will report having just over $300,000 on hand and said he has raised about $70,000 during the past three months.

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