But he plowed ahead with the contest. Mfume had raised $759,000 through June 30, compared to Cardin's $4.83 million. He says the difference owes partly to his refusal to take money from corporate interests. Including receipts since the last reporting period, his campaign now says it has raised more than $1.1 million.
On the stump, Mfume speaks of increasing education funding, improving access to health care, and developing a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq. As a U.S. senator, he says, he would support small-business development, enact a federal living wage and make fighting poverty a national priority.
Back on the campaign trail after the constraints of heading an organization that was supposed to be nonpartisan, Mfume says he is enjoying himself.
"I enjoy having a partisan opinion, and I enjoy being able to say what I feel about issues of government," he said. "Now that I'm kind of free to do this again, it's a good feeling. Because I've got some opinions - doesn't mean that they're right - but I've got opinions that I don't have to bottle up any more."
Sun reporters Andrew Schneider and Fred Schulte contributed to this article.
Democrat Date of Birth: Oct. 24, 1948
Education: Morgan State University, B.S. in urban studies and transportation systems, 1976; Johns Hopkins University, Master of Liberal Arts concentrating in international affairs, 1984.
Professional Experience: program director, WEAA 1977-1987; Baltimore City Council, 1979-1987; U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-1995; chairman, Congressional Black Caucus, 1993-1995; chairman, Joint Economic Committee, 1994-1995; member, Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; president and chief executive officer, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1995-2004.
Personal: Divorced; sons Kweisi Jr., Kevin, Keith, Ronald, Michael and Christopher; seven grandchildren.
MFUME // ON THE ISSUES
Under Mfume in 2004, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People declared its support for keeping abortion legal. Mfume says he would have voted to allow military personnel and their dependents overseas to use their own funds to obtain abortions in military hospitals, and would have voted against a bill that would have prohibited the transportation of minors across state lines to obtain abortion services without the consent of a parent or guardian.
Mfume has been endorsed by the Maryland State Teachers Association. He favors full funding for Head Start, funding for students with disabilities and special education needs, and greater focus on teacher training and retention. He says he would "fund and fix" No Child Left Behind.
Mfume says he would have voted against the October 2002 resolution to authorize President Bush to use military force in Iraq. Through a spokesman, he says he opposes U.S. involvement in Iraq's sectarian violence and wants to start bringing U.S. troops home to a hero's welcome.
Mfume favors raising the minimum wage to $7.50 per hour. He has been endorsed by Unite Here, the American Federation of State, County and Muncipal Employees Local 422, the Fraternal Order of Police of Prince George's County, Service Employees International Union locals 32BJ and 400PG and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994.
Mfume voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993 and says he would have voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2005. He says all trade agreements must have strong labor, environmental and human rights provisions to protect American workers.
Sources: Mfume for U.S. Senate, OnTheIssues.org, candidate interviews.