By Tim Curtis
WASHINGTON—Rep. Donna Edwards raised $335,000 in the first 21 days of her campaign for the U.S. Senate, utilizing the national progressive groups that have endorsed her.
Edwards, D-Fort Washington, announced her candidacy March 10 in the race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. Her campaign filed its first financial report on Wednesday with the Office of the Secretary of the Senate, which forwards the records to the Federal Election Commission.
Of the money Edwards reported raising, $260,000, or about 77 percent, came from individual contributions large enough to be itemized, more than $200.
Another 15 percent, almost $56,000, came from smaller donations from individuals.
And 6 percent, $19,500, came from political action committees.
"The phenomenal number of contributors in the first few weeks of the campaign proves that the grassroots community is mobilized behind Donna as the candidate who will lead the fight for progressive values in the Senate," said Garrick Delzell, Edwards' campaign manager, in a statement last week.
3,700 contributors, Donna is building a campaign that reflects the hard work of Maryland families, that says 'you don't ever have to worry about who your next senator will fight for.'"
Edwards has been endorsed by national progressive groups like Emily's List, which focuses on getting Democratic women elected, and Democracy for America, a grassroots organization founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
Both groups' political action committees donated $5,000 to Edwards' campaign, the maximum allowed by the FEC.
Edwards raised another $22,000 in individual contributions through Emily's List.
She also received money from two members of Congress. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., gave Edwards $1,000 through his campaign committee.
Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, one of the more liberal members of Congress, according to the National Journal, and the 12th richest member, according to Roll Call, gave Edwards $5,300.
Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan's campaign committee gave Edwards $1,000. Her only other opponent at this time, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, has been endorsed by the entire Montgomery County Council and County Executive Ike Leggett.
Edwards has pledged not to accept any money from big Wall Street banks during the campaign, and none appeared in her filings.
Edwards also received money from the PACs for the Turkish Coalition USA, which focuses on improving Turkish-American relations, and Washington Gas, a public utility that distributes natural gas in the Washington suburbs.
She also received one other notable donation - $2,600 from singer and actress Barbra Streisand.
Van Hollen, has not had his filings posted by the FEC yet, but his campaign says he has raised more than $1.25 million so far.
Several other prospective candidates are still weighing whether to jump into the campaign including Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, who has said his polling shows him leading the race.