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Currie's Fundraising Slows To a Trickle; Gansler, Smith Step Up

Among other things, the federal investigation of Sen. Ulysses Currie (D-Prince George's) appears to have taken a significant toll on his campaign fundraising.

Currie, chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee and one of the Senate's most prolific fundraisers, reported taking in only $17,673 last year -- and all of that was before news broke in late May about an FBI raid of Currie's home and the headquarters of Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, for whom Currie had been doing undisclosed consulting work.

Currie raised nearly $64,000 during the same period a year before and is sitting on a bank account of $345,663. State lawyers advised last year that it was unlikely Currie would be able to use campaign cash to pay his legal defense fees.

Currie's fundraising figures are among a few that stand out in annual reports released last week, half way into the 2010 election cycle.

The most aggressive fundraisers over the past year were Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), who reported raising $660,385 and having formidable $1.3 million in the bank; and Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, who reported raising $633,543 and having $957,583 on hand.

Gansler, who is two years into his first term as attorney general, is widely expected to seek higher office somewhere down the road, possibly making a bid for governor in 2014. Smith is term-limited as county executive and has been mentioned as a possible Democratic primary challenger in 2010 to Comptroller Peter Franchot (D).

Franchot, who irked some in the party establishment with his outspoken opposition to slots, reported raising $294,603 during the past year and having $283,598 on hand. His attention was largely devoted to the anti-slots campaign, however.

Smith's numbers far exceeded those of Montgomery County Executve Isiah Leggett (D), who is eligible to seek re-election and reported raising $92,215, with $264,172 on hand. (A report for Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) not available through the Board of Elections as of this morning.)

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) spent much of the year raising money for other candidates in Maryand and beyond, taking in only $194,211 for his primary campaign account. He is sitting on $1.9 million, however. That dwarfs the $151529 that former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has in the bank. Ehrlich, who is muling a possible rematch with O'Malley in 2010, raised $151,529 during the period.

In a year in which he reversed a retirement decision, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) reported raising $379,141, with $644,234 in the bank. His counterpart, House Speaker Michael E Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who also plans to seek re-election in 2010, reported raising $116,245, with $169,934 on hand.

By John Wagner  |  January 26, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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