Challengers Lag in Congressional Campaign Donations - Southern Maryland Headline News

Challengers Lag in Congressional Campaign Donations

Hoyer outraises Bailey by $384,265 to $13,864 in the third quarter

WASHINGTON (Oct. 19, 2008)—Maryland's congressional incumbents handily outraised their challengers in campaign funds in the 2008 third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

In each Maryland race featuring an incumbent candidate, quarterly financial information shows challengers lagging behind considerably in fundraising.

Campaign finance information was due to the Federal Election Commission Wednesday, Oct. 15.

The only district in which fundraising by two opponents was relatively equal was in the 1st District, where the seat is open after the incumbent lost in the primary.

State Sen. Andy Harris, R-Cockeysville, and Democratic opponent Frank Kratovil, the Queen Anne's state's attorney, this quarter raised $557,000 and $597,000, respectively.

Harris, however, leads Kratovil in total fundraising by more than $1 million and has about $250,000 more cash on hand than Kratovil, according to FEC filings.

This fundraising pattern is normal in congressional races but does not necessarily guarantee an incumbent win, said Stephen Weissman, associate director for policy at The Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C.

"It works out that (the better-funded candidate wins) well over 90 percent of the time, but challengers can defeat incumbents even if they have less money," Weissman said. "The rule of thumb would be if you have about half as much money as the incumbent, you ... have a chance of winning."

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Cockeysville, who is seeking a fourth term in the 2nd District, outraised Republican challenger Richard Matthews by about $87,000. Ruppersberger has about $788,000 more than Matthews in cash on hand.

In the 3rd District race, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, D-Towson, collected $52,400 in the third quarter and has $346,000 cash on hand. His Republican challenger, Thomas E. "Pinkston" Harris, did not post third-quarter campaign finance records.

District 4 Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Fort Washington, has $47,424 cash on hand, while her Republican opponent Peter James has $464 and no contributions this quarter.

Edwards received $58,754.64 during the third quarter, with more than one-fifth of the money coming from political action committees such as Democracy for America and Women's Campaign Forum.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, raised $384,265 in third-quarter contributions for re-election in the 5th District. His campaign has more than $1.5 million in cash on hand.

Hoyer's Republican challenger, Collins Bailey of Waldorf, raised $13,864 in the third quarter, according to his campaign.

"The American people have an opportunity to come together on principle," said Bailey, a business owner who has $8,498 cash on hand. "It should be about issues and principles and not the highest bidder."

In the 6th District, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, reported nearly $50,000 more in total contributions and about $350,000 more in cash on hand than his Democratic challenger, former Frederick Mayor Jennifer Dougherty. Bartlett received $78,538.91 in total contributions and has $374,142.18 in cash while Dougherty received $30,432.07 in funds and $27,986.80 in cash.

Dougherty said she was satisfied with her fundraising this quarter.

"I said from the beginning this is not about how much money we can raise, but about whether people want real change in Congress," Dougherty said. "The people who oppose the change I promise tend to be the special interests that write the big checks."

Libertarian challenger Gary Hoover Sr., who appeared with Bartlett and Dougherty at a virtual town hall debate earlier this month at Frederick Community College, did not file a report for the quarter.

Incumbent Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, is the only major party contender for the 7th District congressional seat. Cummings raised $839,191 during the third quarter, and has $689,556 on-hand.

Cummings, who is seeking an eighth term, has four challengers, but only one of them has raised funds. Republican and Baltimore dentist Michael Hardagon raised $17,175 in the third quarter and has $632 in cash, according to FEC filings.

Incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, has more cash on hand, $2.7 million, than any other congressional candidate in Maryland.

His war chest dwarfs those of Eighth District Republican challenger Steve Hudson, with $5,515, and Green Party candidate Gordon Clark, with $4,535.

Van Hollen raised about $384,000 more than Hudson and about $387,000 more than Clark this quarter.

Despite the disparity, Hudson, who has donated more than $21,200 to his own campaign, said he remains undeterred.

"I wish money would come in, but this is not a big money campaign—this is a grass-roots campaign," Hudson said. "We've got people working all over the district doing the same thing that I'm doing, going door-to-door and reaching out to people."

Capital News Service contributed to this report.

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