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Senate Finances

As today's deadline arrived for U.S. Senate candidates to file campaign finance reports, the numbers showed that Rep. Ben Cardin has not only raised more than any of his Democratic rivals, he had more cash on hand at the end of the year. He also bests Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, though the Republican hopeful raised slightly more in the final quarter of the year.

Aides to Cardin said the Baltimore-area lawmaker's campaign finance report would show he had raised more than $2.8 million during the year and finished the year with more than $2.1 million on hand.

Those figures dwarf the totals of those of Cardin's best-known Democratic rival, former NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume, whom aides said raised $421,000 during the year and finished with a little more than $125,000 on hand. Two other Democratic candidates, Josh Rales and Allan Lichtman, show more than twice as much money in their accounts.

Aides to Mfume tried to play down the difference, suggesting the former congressman from Baltimore will not need as much money, because he is widely known and has a loyal following.

"It's a comfortable position for us to be in right now," said Lindsay Lewis, one of two newly hired veteran operatives working for Mfume. Lewis added that Mfume has numerous "major" fundraising events scheduled in coming weeks.

Mfume's available cash is lower than some of his other Democratic rivals, who entered the race far more recently and whose totals were bolstered by personal money.

Cardin's totals for the year also exceeded those of Steele, who aides said reported raising nearly $1.3 million and finishing the year with $786,604 on hand. During the final three months of the year, however, Steele out-raised Cardin, $853,350 to $778,537, according to figures provided by aides.

Cardin aides said their candidate is the only one who had demonstrated the ability to compete with a well-funded Republican. during a campaign that will require heavy spending on television.

"The recipe for winning a modern Senate campaign in Maryland is pretty simple," said Cardin spokesman Oren Shur. "You need an effective leader with strong Democratic principles who also has the ability to mount a well-funded and well-organized campaign."

The campaigns of other Democrats running for Senate said they would report the following totals:

--Josh Rales, a businessman from Montgomery County: $602,141 raised, including $145,475 of his own money; $342, 857 on hand.

--Allan Lichtman, an American University professor from Montgomery: $338,442 raised, including $250,000 of his own money; $322,806 on hand. (Corrected from earlier posting)

--Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist from Montgomery: $366,312 raised, including about $90,000 of her own money; $155,093 on hand.

Totals were not available yesterday for Dennis Rasmussen, a former Baltimore County executive, who only recently entered the race, and for A. Robert Kaufman, a Baltimore community activist.

John Wagner and Ann E. Marimow

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 31, 2006; 6:01 PM ET
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Any number crunching on outside Maryland vs. inside Maryland numbers? I was struck last time by how Mfume's relatively low numbers included a lot national money. I didn't look at Cardin's.

Bet some of the Post staffers really hate working for a outfit so afraid of criticism that it shuts down a blog when the organization makes a mistake. Then they claim its because people are being uncivil, but can't back that claim up. Oh yeah, the original lie is proved to be a lie as well.

Posted by: elliottg | January 31, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

OK. I think someone reads these comments so I'll just mention you might want to have your web guys not use the abbreviation "LOL" to mean "Live On-Line". It was a little disconcerting to see a bullet point under the politics subheadings labelled:

"LOL:Robert G. Kaiser, 10:30pm"

Maybe, I'm too sensitive to that sort of thing, but somebody might think you were mocking Bush's SOTU. How about just "Live"

Posted by: elliottg | February 1, 2006 12:46 AM | Report abuse

In case you didn't get what eliottg was trying to say, LOL to most people means "Laughing out Loud"

Posted by: Harold | February 1, 2006 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Folks, we had the wrong number for Democrat Allan Lichtman's cash on hand in an earlier posting. He's got nearly $323,000 cash on hand, which puts him ahead of Mfume and neck-and-neck with Josh Rales. We regret the error.

Posted by: Phyllis Jordan | February 1, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Almost 75% of Cardin's money has come from Maryland while almost 45% of Mfume's contributions are from out of state.

See the info Cardin released yesterday.

Posted by: eliser | February 1, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Curious what Delegate Anthony G. Brown of Prince George's County, has been involved with in the Legislative session now that he is Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley's running mate for the Governor/Lt. Governor race?

Posted by: s | February 1, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I thought it was strange that Lichtman's cash on hand vs. what he rasied in your original article was exactly different by the 250k that he had contributed personally. I just rationalized that was probably something where the 250k was a contribution toward some kind of prepaid contract or retainer. Good to see it was a mistake.

Posted by: elliottg | February 1, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Unlike other campaigns, we have substantial funds on hand partly because we are not doling out large sums for hucksters and handlers. My campaign relies on personal contact with voters and an army of young volunteers to spread our exciting message of positive change across the state of Maryland.

Posted by: Allan Lichtman | February 1, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Mfume is a really nice guy-- maybe too nice to put the arm on big donors like other politicians do.

Posted by: Graham | February 1, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The $421,000.00 raised by the Mfume campaign committee includes $97,705.00 that was transferred on March 31, 2005 from his former Congressional campaign committee, that was used when he was in the House of Representatives, to his current U. S. Senate campaign committee. The reports can be found on the FEC website.

Of course, Mfume has not served in political office since 1996. That raises an interesting question. Why were funds transferred from a Congressional campaign committee account that has been dormant for nine years to his U. S. Senate campaign committee account?

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