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On the Road Again

Lt. Gov. Michael Steele drew attention earlier this year for the amount of time he spent outside the state of Maryland (128 days since taking office in 2003), much of it campaigning for President Bush in 2004.

Now's he's back on the road again, but this time to raise money for his U.S. Senate bid. According to media reports compiled by the Maryland Democratic Party, Steele was in California last week to seek financial backing from The Lincoln Club of Orange County.

He spent Sunday in Nashville, where Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist held an event for one incumbent senator -- Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania -- and four GOP challengers: Tom Kean Jr. of New Jersey, Mike McGavick of Washington, Minnesota Rep. Mark Kennedy and Steele.

On Monday, he appeared with Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., in Scottsdale, where he gave the keynote speech at a at minority business summit.

Doug Heye, the Steele campaign's communications director, said he had nothing to say about the Democratic Party news release highlighting the ties between the donors at these events and the Bush administration.

"The Steele campaign isn't going to be in the habit of commenting everytime the Maryland Democratic Party makes another one of their attacks that comes straight from their 37-page playbook," Heye said, referring to the strategy memo that identified Steele as a threat and strongly advised Democrats to tie him to Bush.

Though none of these events was close to home, the Frist event, in particular, appeared to be outside the lieutenant governor's comfort zone. The Associated Press reported that the invitation to the Frist fundraiser struck a country western theme.

"The cowboy-themed invitation features jeans and a belt buckle, and recipients have to open the belt buckle to see what is inside," the AP report said. "The back shows the rear end of a pair of jeans with a red handkerchief hanging from one of the pockets."

By  |  April 25, 2006; 12:42 PM ET
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Quite frankly, this is just disgusting. The man can't raise money in his own home state so he has to pander across the nation for bucks. I believe strongly in 100% publicly funded elections. Steele is the perfect reason why it is needed.

Posted by: Mr.K | April 25, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Has Steele taken a consistent position on any issue since he became a public figure?

Posted by: John | April 25, 2006 5:49 PM | Report abuse

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Steele raising money outside of Maryland. All politicians do it. If you are so disgusted by the practice, Mr. K, then you'll have no candidate to vote for in November, since both Cardin and Mfume also rely on out of state donors.

Posted by: MK | April 26, 2006 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Take a look at Sarbanes' totals over the years. Most of his millions were raised in California and other places with a high Greek population.

Posted by: Ted | April 26, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

MK, if this post had been about Cardin or Mfume I would have said the same thing. My particular distaste for Steele does not change the fact that this kind of behavior is wrong regardless of the party. "All politicians do it" is not a qualifier for it being right or wrong. It's wrong period because it cheapens the electoral process by making it about money instead of issues that affect real people. We need 100% publicly funded elections to stop businesses and interest groups (again, regardless of views) from having the amount of influence and power over our elected officials that they currently have. "Developer Doug" anyone?

Posted by: Mr. K | April 26, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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