WASHINGTON – Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Baltimore, has just under $1 million in the bank for his re-election bid this fall, putting him well ahead of his two Democratic opponents and all eight Republican hopefuls.
Neither of the Democrats — retired economist George English and retired teacher Sidney Altman, both of Montgomery County — plan to spend or raise $5,000 for the election, the amount at which a candidate must file finance reports with the Federal Election Commission.
Of the Republican candidates whose finance reports were available Wednesday, Montgomery County businessman Rob Sobhani held the lead with $116,487 raised and $80,750 on hand.
Howard County lawyer Paul Rappaport, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and attorney general in 1998, was second among the Republicans in the Senate race with just over $5,000 on hand.
“I think [Sarbanes] doesn’t have much to worry about, especially in the primary,” said Brad Coker, director of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. “And Rappaport is the most established candidate and is known statewide.”
A spokesman for Sarbanes said the campaign is pleased with its fund raising so far.
“We’re raising money at a record rate and have 75 percent more now than we did this time six years ago,” said Jesse Jacobs, the spokesman.
Rappaport said Wednesday he has spent his time building a grass-roots campaign before the March 7 primary.
“We’re working toward raising money later,” Rappaport said. “While others may have the green, we have the volunteers.”
Sobhani is “really doing a great job raising money to get his message out there,” said Kelly Kout, his campaign manager. But he has boosted his coffers with a $30,000 loan of his own money, she said.
Montgomery County lawyer Robin Ficker, a former state delegate and veteran Republican candidate, has given $100,000 toward his Senate campaign, according to FEC reports and has $258 on hand.
Campaign reports were not available Wednesday for Ross Pierpont, a Baltimore County physician who has repeatedly run for office on the GOP ticket. But Pierpont has heavily financed his earlier runs, contributing almost $300,000 of his own money toward his 1998 Senate campaign.
Finance reports for Carroll County businessman Ken Wayman, a Republican candidate, were not available.
Former publisher and Howard County resident John Stafford as well as retired Montgomery County scientist Howard Greyber, both Republicans, said they do not yet meet the necessary $5,000 threshold for filing.
Stafford said he has plans to start his fund-raising campaign soon.
“I have support from all over the state,” he said. “I just have to call it in.”
Rounding out the Republican slate, Montgomery County journalist Kenneth Timmerman said he has raised just over $5,000.
Ficker said his level of fund-raising does not discourage him.
“I’m not concerned with fund raising,” he said. “What should really be told is that I’ve personally shaken the hand of over 600,000 Marylanders.”