BETHESDA – When a gubernatorial battle gets tight, it’s time to bring out the heavy artillery.
Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has brought in two big guns — the husband and wife team that top the list of the Democratic Party’s biggest names.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., appeared at a Townsend fund-raiser and rally Wednesday at the Bethesda Marriott that drew about 1,700 people and raised nearly $100,000.
Today it will be the senator’s husband’s star turn. Former President Bill Clinton is expected to raise more than $500,000 for Townsend at a fund-raiser at Coppin State College.
With Townsend and her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Bob Ehrlich, in a dead heat in the most recent polls, Ehrlich brought in his own powerhouse guest: President George W. Bush raised $1.8 million for Ehrlich two weeks ago. Senator Clinton’s visit was geared toward women, with guests paying $25 each for the rally. Another 50 guests paid $1,000 to have their picture taken with Clinton and Townsend.
Townsend and Clinton tried to rally their gender with the slogan, “When women vote, Kathleen wins!” and by playing Shania Twain’s, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” at the closing. In addition, the fund-raiser garnered support from the National Organization for Women, the Million Mom March and other women’s groups.
“You’re not only going to win, you’re going to win big,” Clinton said to Townsend.
Maryland’s first female senator, Barbara Mikulski, D-Baltimore, also attended.
“I feel like I’m running with the power girls here,” Mikulski said. “If there’s not room at the table, then we’ll build another table.”
Townsend highlighted the accomplishments of Clinton and Mikulski.
“I’d like to break a glass ceiling, too, and with your help, I will,” the candidate said. Gun control, health care for senior citizens and abortion rights, topped the agenda for both Townsend and Clinton. Both also offered condolences for the families of those killed in the sniper attacks in the greater Washington area. Nine people have died and two others, including a middle-schooler, were wounded in 12 incidents within two weeks. Bringing the Clintons into her campaign plays upon Maryland voters’ past affection for the former White House couple. In the 1996 presidential election, Bill Clinton won 54 percent of the Maryland vote while gaining 50 percent of the vote in 1992. The former president will visit Coppin State at 4:30 p.m. today for a Maryland State Democratic Party rally costing $100 a person. A $1,000-per-person reception for Townsend will follow at the Wyndham Hotel in Baltimore, followed by a sit-down dinner at $4,000 each. – 30 – CNS-10-17-02