Cardin Joined by Kerry In Crucial Pr. George's

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, left, Sen. John F. Kerry and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer campaign at the Upper Marlboro headquarters of Cool Wave Water.
Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, left, Sen. John F. Kerry and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer campaign at the Upper Marlboro headquarters of Cool Wave Water. (By Michael Robinson Chavez -- The Washington Post)
By Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 16, 2006

U.S. Senate candidate Benjamin L. Cardin teamed up with his party's last presidential nominee, John F. Kerry, yesterday to build support among black business owners in Prince George's County, rally volunteers in Montgomery County and raise campaign cash at the Redskins game.

The appearances by the Massachusetts Democratic senator came as fundraising figures released by Cardin and his Republican rival, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, show that both candidates raised about $1.3 million during the five-week period ending Sept. 30.

Steele has raised a total of $6 million and had $2 million in the bank, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Cardin, a Baltimore congressman, has collected $6.4 million and had $1.6 million on hand, according to numbers provided by his campaign.

The figures provided yesterday are two weeks old and do not account for the costly TV commercial time both campaigns have purchased since then.

Speaking to about three dozen federal contractors, lawyers and local politicians gathered in Upper Marlboro yesterday, Cardin expressed support for locating government facilities in Prince George's, leasing space for government offices in the county and providing more opportunities for minority owners to secure contracts.

"Prince George's needs to be the first priority," Cardin said.

With the retirement of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D), Kerry emphasized the importance of keeping both of Maryland's Senate seats in Democratic hands as control of Congress is at stake in next month's election.

"People in Maryland can't be fooled by slick advertisements, by the rhetoric," said Kerry, seated between Cardin and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) at the company headquarters of Cool Wave Water. "You've got to send us Ben Cardin to fill [Sarbanes'] shoes."

Kerry, who won Maryland with 56 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election, joins other prominent Democrats who have campaigned for Cardin, including Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights leader from Georgia.

Prince George's is home to the lieutenant governor, the first African American elected statewide, and has become a battleground in the Senate contest as Steele has tried to make inroads with black Democrats.

Steele's campaign manager, Michael Leavitt, called Kerry's visit a "desperate attempt" by Cardin to "try and gain ground" in the county and in a news release sought to discredit Cardin's record on issues important to businesses.

Steele has made overhauling the state's Minority Business Enterprise Program a hallmark of his four-year tenure in Annapolis.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company