By Peter Brush, Jennifer Castelli and Lori Wolfgang
ANNAPOLIS – Impressed with Parris N. Glendening’s emphasis on education, Kenneth Bragg of Olympia, Wash., kicked in $25 toward the candidate’s record-breaking 1994 war chest.
“It was a token gift,” Bragg said. “[Glendening] advances the cause of education, which I think is very prudent.”
In sending money from far away, Bragg was not alone. A computer analysis of candidate Glendening’s finances revealed 1,259 donations totalling $512,000 from individuals in 40 states beyond Maryland. For comparison, individual contributions from 7,000 individuals inside Maryland totalled $1.97 million.
Experts said that ratio – 1 to 4 – was not out of the ordinary given the growth of interstate business, the extent to which people move around, and communications networks that have made the world smaller.
(The campaign finance database was provided to Capital News Service by Common Cause Maryland, a non-profit government watchdog group.)
Bragg, a former resident of Prince George’s County who studied budget matters for the federal and state governments, said his ties to this area induced him to participate.
Thad Beyle, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina who studies state politics, said donations like Bragg’s are standard in modern politics.
“It’s not surprising where money comes from anymore,” Beyle said.
Emily Smith, campaign manager for Glendening, said that while campaigners didn’t go out of their way to solicit out-of- state money, the governor has associates all over the country.
“There was not a large effort to raise money from out of state,” said Smith, though she added “you look at who your friends are.”
Beyle said that state campaigns are following a well- documented trend in federal elections, where the perentage of out-of-state contributions has risen sharply in the last two decades.
Josh Goldstein of the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington said the significance of out-of-state contributions varies race by race. “It depends on who’s running and where,” he said.
For instance, Goldstein said the concentration of lobbyists, politically active citizens, and of money in general in the Washington metropolitan area would contribute to a high number of out-of-state contributions in Maryland.
Glendening’s individual donations included $176,000 from District of Columbia residents and $122,000 from Virginia residents. New York and Pennsylvania residents weighed in with $75,000 and $25,000, respectively.
Celebrity — notably the drawing power of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend — also played an important role in the wide range of donations to Glendening’s campaign. Townsend, eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, joined the race in May 1994.
Contribution records show that about $10,000 came to the Glendening campaign from the Kennedy and Shriver families, including $6,000 from the campaign war chest of U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.). However, a great deal of support was pulled from the grassroots after Townsend was picked by Glendening.
“She’s very visible and she stands for what they believe,” said Jeff Adler of the San Francisco-based Adler-Smith campaign consulting firm.
In telephone interviews, many out-of-state contributors said they see Kathleen Kennedy Townsend as one of the standard-bearers of Robert F. Kennedy’s political legacy, which Adler described as “Kennedy liberalism.”
“I am singularly impressed with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She’s an extraordinary public servant, carrying on the proud tradition of her father,” said Richard Hopewell, 57, a civil rights activist from Sioux Falls, S.D.
Hopewell said the Kennedy tradition is one of promoting a “meritocracy” in the United States. Of his $25 donation, he said, “My money is altruistic.”
Mary K. Martin of Leawood, Kan., sent $200 to the Glendening campaign after Townsend got on board. “I believe in Kathleen, that’s why I gave her the money,” she said, adding that she had worked for Robert F. Kennedy years ago.
Townsend, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on the fundraising strength associated with her family name. -30-