WASHINGTON – Maryland congressional and senatorial candidates reported having $5.23 million on hand in the latest campaign filings — more than 99 percent of it in the hands of incumbents.
The nine incumbents seeking re-election said they had a total of $5.19 million as of March 31, or 99.4 percent of the total reported this week to the Federal Election Commission.
The remaining $31,326 was split among the five challengers in November’s general election who filed reports for the period from Feb. 12 to March 31.
But missing from the reports was information for state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Queen Anne’s County, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski for her U.S. Senate seat.
Pipkin, who spent more than $500,000 of his own money to win his state seat in 2002, is expected to spend heavily on this race and had already loaned his campaign $250,000 by February, the date of his last filing.
Except for Pipkin, analysts said the fund raising in Maryland is following a predictable pattern this campaign season.
“Early money is important,” said Shelia Krumholz, research director at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics. “It gives confidence to early donors” who may be hit up again as November elections draw near.
Mikulski, who is running for her fourth Senate term, raised $963,490 and spent $272,584 during the reporting period, leaving her with $2.46 million on hand, according to the FEC.
Neither Mikulski nor Pipkin returned calls Friday.
Outside of the Senate race, the wealthiest challenger was Anne Arundel County Circuit Clerk Robert Duckworth, a Republican who reported having $18,960 on hand for his race to unseat 3rd District Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Baltimore. But Duckworth’s campaign fund was dwarfed by the $476,368 Cardin had in the bank.
Other campaigns where challengers reported raising any money were similarly lopsided:
— Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville raised $168,600 and had $617,594 on hand, while the Republican challenger for his 5th District seat, Brad Jewitt, had $5,978 on hand.
— Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, had $497,543, compared to GOP challenger Chuck Floyd’s $2,228 in the 8th District.
— 4th District Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Largo, reporting having $326,486 in the bank on hand, dwarfing Republican challenger John McKinnis’ $2,246.
— Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, had $304,735 for his 7th District race, compared to the $1,911 reported by Republican Tony Salazar.
Salazar, who defeated two primary opponents for the right to face Cummings, said he would “always want more” money for the campaign, but said there is plenty of time before the general election. He noted that he has raised more than $25,000 so far, the most ever by a challenger to Cummings.
“We would prefer to be showing better, but we expect to have what we need by the end of the summer,” said Salazar.
A first-time candidate, Salazar was realistic about the expensive nature of a congressional campaign, but also optimistic about his chances.
“It’s an expensive proposition, but we’re committed and expect to have money and compete,” he said.
The other incumbents did not have challengers who filed campaign reports. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Cockeysville, reported having $141,754 on hand for his bid for a second term in the 2nd District.
Republican Reps. Roscoe Bartlett of Frederick and Wayne Gilchrest of Kennedyville, both of whom fended off challengers in expensive primary races, appear to have bounced back. Bartlett reported having $303,454 on hand and Gilchrest had $73,064 in the bank as of March 31.
For all candidates, the quest for money does not let up, Krumholz said.
“In an election year, it’s a constant race,” she said. And “for House members, it never really ends.”
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