Out of the race, Golding is now sharing his campaign wealth

Campaign notebook


Sheriff R. Thomas Golding, who had been receiving campaign contributions up until the day he abruptly dropped out of the race to lead Harford County's deputies, has begun to spread his money around, according to the most recent campaign finance figures.

Golding gave money to two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for sheriff.

Bob Benedetto, a retired Baltimore County police officer, received $1,000 from Golding's campaign account June 22. Norman R. Cochran, a former state trooper who ran for County Council president in 2002, has received two payments totaling $1,300.

Golding still has a $33,969 balance in his account, which could come into play after candidates emerge from primary contests Sept. 12.

Should one of them emerge from the primary, Cochran or Benedetto will likely face a 30-year colleague of Golding - Democrat Jesse Bane - in the general election. Bane, 57, stepped down from the agency in April.

Golding was in Ocean City for a conference and could not be reached for comment.

Holding a similar amount of cash in reserve is the Harford County Deputy Sheriff's Political Action Committee, which will endorse a candidate after the primary and has $32,766 in its account. Since January, the group has distributed $3,750 to several candidates, including Benedetto and Bane in the sheriff's race.

While Golding and the deputies' union are largely adversarial at this point, Benedetto might have impressed both sides when he became the only candidate to formally anoint a running mate.

His campaign signs praise himself and his choice for undersheriff, Edward Hopkins, a former deputy who Golding selected as spokesman for the agency and, briefly, his campaign. Golding's contribution to the campaign was by far the largest received by Benedetto, who has raised $11,300.

Using money he raised for his campaign, Golding also purchased tickets to events for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and two County Council members. He spent $250 on a golf fundraiser for Councilman Richard C. Slutzky and $1,000 for a fundraiser for Councilwoman Veronica L. "Roni" Chenowith.

Days after he decided not to run, Golding also returned $400 to four contributors.

Cochran ads coming

Starting this week, advertisements praising Norman R. Cochran's candidacy will begin airing on Comcast cable in Harford County.

Among those appearing in the ads are Lois Nagle, a longtime member of the Harford County Republican Central Committee who Cochran called the "first lady of the Republican Party"; outgoing County Councilman Lance C. Miller; Horace Tittle, a minister and radio show host; and Bel Air Mayor Terence O. Hanley.

"I think Norm is an upstanding guy, and right now we need some change," said Hanley, who filmed his portion of the spot at Shamrock Park in downtown Bel Air. "We need someone who is willing to take the bull by the horns and lead this county, and I think Norm is the guy to do that."

Cochran, 59, said his campaign purchased 300 television spots, which will begin airing a week before he rolls out radio advertisements on WXCY-FM, a country music station based in Havre de Grace.

Sign theft suspects

More details about the apparent theft of as many as 300 political campaign signs emerged last week. The eight suspects, who had not been arrested as of Thursday evening, allegedly split into teams of four and competed to see which team could collect the most signs.

Robert B. Thomas, a spokesman with the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said the suspects assigned points for signs based on size and type, and the losing team would provide the winning team with breakfast.

A witness who noted the vehicle's tag numbers of the suspects notified deputies.

The signs were thrown into a community pond in the Stone Ridge development outside Bel Air. The suspects - one a juvenile, the others ages 18 to 20 - were identified in an investigation, and deputies applied for arrest warrants on charges of theft over $500 and malicious destruction of property, Thomas said.


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