WASHINGTON – Despite predictions from leaders in both major parties that Rep. Albert Wynn should easily win re-election, he continues to spend campaign money aggressively.
Recent reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show the Largo Democrat has dipped into his campaign pot to cover expenses ranging from direct mail and yard signs to a trip to Chicago in August for the Democratic National Convention.
“He takes every campaign very seriously,” said Wynn’s press secretary, James Ballentine.
Wynn collected $187,627 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 15, and spent $154,623, a report filed this week with the Federal Election Commission shows.
His Republican challenger, John Kimble, 36, of Silver Spring, did not file a report. Kimble said he has received small individual contributions, but most of his campaign money has come from his own pocket. The pager company owner said he had no idea how much he has spent.
A candidate must file a fund-raising report with the FEC after either raising or spending at least $5,000.
“If you don’t kiss anyone’s rear end, then you won’t get money,” Kimble said, adding, “and I don’t have a huge campaign staff” to raise money.
The chairwoman of the Maryland Republican Party, Joyce Lyons Terhes, said in an interview earlier this month she did not consider the 4th District race winnable by Kimble. The sentiment has been echoed by top Democrats.
Besides listing a number of office expenses, Wynn spent almost $1,200 for travel, lodging and incidental items at the Democratic convention in Chicago. Campaign money can be used at political conventions as long as campaign activities take place there, according to the FEC.
Wynn also spent $18,000 on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — $5,000 in annual dues and the remainder for distribution to other Democratic candidates.
“He tries to save as much money as possible, but in this market, there’s just too much to do,” Ballentine said.
Kimble said he has spent money on campaign literature and signs. But he said he and his staff are too busy making personal appearances to spend time raising money.
“I’ve lost 60 pounds, so people know I’m hustling,” Kimble said. “I want to get the issues out.”
Wynn, 46, has received $85,793 in individual contributions this year and $100,095 from special-interest groups, or political action committees, his Oct. 15 report shows.
Among the PAC contributions were those from organized labor, such as $1,000 from the AFL-CIO and $5,000 from the Machinists Non-Partisan Political PAC.
Other contributions have come from health organizations, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the American Dental Association. They gave $1,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Although the two candidates are separated by finances, they have similar views on issues pertaining to abortion and wages.
Both candidates said they are pro-choice and are against banning any type of abortion.
Both also said they support the minimum wage bill signed by Clinton in August. It raised the minimum wage from $4.25 to $4.75 on Oct. 1 and will raise it to $5.15 next September. The wage needs to rise farther still, they said.
However, Kimble has taken more extremist positions on other issues. He has proposed a 10-year moratorium on immigration and also wants the elimination of all welfare, Medicaid and education grants to all non-U.S. citizens who entered the country after 1985. -30-