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As fundraising deadline nears, Mikulski gets a little help from her friends

Ben Pershing

Every congressional campaign likes to report good fundraising numbers, so with the second quarter of 2010 set to end at midnight, candidates of all stripes are blasting out last-minute pleas for cash. Even candidates -- like Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) -- who probably don't need it.

Technically, Mikulski will have to beat a crowded field of fellow Democrats in the Sept. 14 primary, and then beat a Republican in order to secure a fifth term in the Senate. Realistically, she is seen as a shoo-in for victory and neither national party is devoting an ounce of attention to her race.

But that hasn't stopped Mikulski, with the help of some prominent Marylanders, from portraying tonight's fundraising deadline as absolutely vital.

"With less than five months until Election Day -- and with Barbara up against 18 opponents -- we can't take anything for granted," ex-Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) wrote in an email Tuesday to Mikulski campaign supporters. "We've set a goal of raising $20,000 for Barbara before June 30 to help her win. Will you help us reach that goal?"

(Of those "18 opponents" Sarbanes refers to, eight are Republicans -- only one of whom will emerge from that party's primary -- and four are write-in or third-party contenders. Mikulski does have six opponents in the Democratic primary. The full list is here.)

On Monday it was Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) turn. In an email titled "My former boss" -- he worked for Mikulski's 1986 campaign and then in her Senate office -- O'Malley tells supporters that "she's counting on people like you and me to help her prepare for a big fight in November. ... This is a competitive race, and we cannot take anything for granted."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) made his plea last week. "A strong end-of-quarter filing is not only imperative to a strong campaign in the coming months, but it sends a clear message to Barbara's competitors: we've got her back," Cardin wrote.

On Wednesday morning, Mikulski made her own request, while thanking her "friends" for their help.

"I wouldn't ask if it weren't so important," Milulski wrote. "We haven't faced a deadline like this yet, and I know my 18 opponents - yes 18! - are going to try to spin this filing total as a statement on our campaign's success. Together, we can prove our strength and momentum."

All of the Mikulski campaign emails mentioned the same fundraising goal for this last-minute pitch -- $20,000. How much is that, in the scheme of things? As of March 31, Mikulski's campaign had $2.7 million in the bank. Her best-funded GOP opponent, Eric Wargotz, had $118,000.

By Ben Pershing  |  June 30, 2010; 3:24 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , Ben Pershing  
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Hey guys, how about a little more coverage for the underdog, Commissioner Dr. Eric Wargotz? I'll bet you haven't even ever contacted him. He is an awesome Conservative opponent to face the incumbent. His money will roll-in. have you even visited his web site?

Posted by: addictedtopolitics | June 30, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Get un-addicted to politics. No one is realistically thinking about Eric Wargotz. If they were, we would all be hearing some message from him about what he intends to do for Maryland.

Posted by: thelongblueline | June 30, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Long blue,

I understand your point as a Dem, and that is OK. Mainstream media doesn't seem to give the opposition much attention. Dr. Wargotz has been rounding the State, videos on youtube, press releasing - i get them all. His message is getting out but mainstream doesn't pay much attention. Go to his web site.

Posted by: addictedtopolitics | June 30, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

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