WASHINGTON – Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes has no fear of Greeks bearing gifts.
The Baltimore Democrat rode the financial support of Greek Americans to a fourth term last year and finished in the black – in contrast to GOP challenger William Brock III, who finished more than $1.5 million in debt.
From $1,000 contributed by New York’s Archbishop Iakovos, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, to $250 from a San Francisco Greek American garage manager, Sarbanes earned a large portion of his $1.26 million in individual contributions in 1994 from fellow Greek Americans, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show.
“I think I should be loyal to someone I consider moral,” said A. John Christoforidis, 67, of Columbus, Ohio, who donated $250 to Sarbanes’ campaign.
Christoforidis, a professor of radiology at Ohio State University, came to Ohio from Greece in 1953. Having supported Presidents Carter and Reagan, he said he judges the individual rather than the party.
“I found out [Sarbanes] is a man of great integrity,” Christoforidis said.
Sarbanes’ campaign manager, Michael Davis, said the support of Greek Americans has been vital to Sarbanes’ success.
“He’s the first Greek American to be elected to the U.S. Senate,” Davis said.
Sarbanes received 72 percent, or $883,411, of all itemized individual contributions from out-of-state donors during the last two years.
In contrast, Brock, heir to a Tennessee candy company fortune and former senator and congressman from Tennessee, received 57 percent, or $685,995, from out-of-state contributors in the same two-year period.
Itemized contributions from individuals are those that exceed $200 a year, according to the FEC.
“When you look at who those supporters are, the majority are Greek Americans who gave out of ethnic pride,” Davis said.
The campaign used a list compiled by Michael Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign to target Greek Americans through direct mailings, Davis said.
Fund-raisers around the country also were thrown for Sarbanes by the Greek community, Davis said.
Sarbanes received only $344,900 from people living in Maryland from 1993-94, FEC records show.
Brock received $510,400 from people living in Maryland, the records for the two-year period show.
Overall, Sarbanes raised more than $1.9 million in contributions in 1994, election commission data show. More than $665,700 came from political action committees.
Brock raised more than $1.5 million in contributions in 1994. About $1.3 million came from individual contributors and $205,300 from PACs.
Sarbanes closed out 1994 with more than $16,000 in the bank and a single $10,000 debt to an Arlington, Va., consulting firm.
Brock finished the year more than $1.5 million in debt, with about $9,000 in the bank, federal documents show. He had loaned his campaign more than $1.5 million of his own money. -30-