WASHINGTON – Republican state Sen. Andy Harris beat incumbent Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil for the second fundraising period in a row, adding to the election worries for the vulnerable freshman congressman from the Eastern Shore.
Harris raised $324,000 to Kratovil’s $247,000, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday that cover the first quarter of 2010.
In 2008, Maryland’s 1st District chose Kratovil over Harris by fewer than 3,000 votes. Their likely rematch this year is expected to be the most competitive race in the state.
Kratovil, D-Stevensville, still has a cash-on-hand advantage of more than $300,000, but Harris widened his fundraising margin this quarter. In the final quarter of 2009, Harris outraised Kratovil by about $30,000. That number grew this year, with Harris winning the latest fundraising battle by more than $75,000.
Harris may be raising more, but he’s spending more as well.
His campaign spent $117,669 in the first quarter, compared to just $68,855 spent by the Kratovil campaign.
Overall, Kratovil has outraised Harris, $1.03 million to $704,000, according to FEC campaign to date figures.
In the 2008 race, Harris spent more than $3 million while Kratovil spent almost $2 million.
Harris may have to first win a Republican primary this year, just like he did in 2008 when he ousted long-term incumbent Wayne Gilchrest before losing to Kratovil.
Republican Rob Fisher, the owner of an Eastern Shore cybersecurity firm, announced in March that he’s challenging Harris for the Republican nomination. Fisher kick-started his campaign by loaning it $115,000 and donating another $20,000.
Jessica Klonsky, Kratovil’s campaign manager, said Kratovil is more focused on doing his job in Congress than campaigning at this point.
“We feel very comfortable with where we are,” said Klonsky.
But Harris said the latest numbers are a sign of his campaign’s building momentum.
“Our campaign is picking up new support every day. Our ability to outraise the incumbent for the second quarter in a row shows that Marylanders do not approve of the path this Congress is taking,” Harris said in an e-mailed statement.
Not every fundraising race is as tight as Kratovil’s.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who’s facing a crowded field of six Republican candidates, raised $850,000, giving her an impressive $2.7 million in cash on hand. Campaign finance information wasn’t yet available for her challengers.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, raised $424,600, bringing his cash-on-hand total to nearly $1.5 million. Hoyer’s most prominent challenger, Republican Charles Lollar from Charles County, got a bit of a morale boost by breaking $100,000 in fundraising for the whole cycle, but he still has a steep hill to climb in order to compete with Hoyer.
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