ANNAPOLIS, AUG. 14 -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer has raised almost $2 million for his reelection campaign -- far more than all of his opponents combined -- in an election year marked by rising contributions from political action committees.
On the local level, incumbent Democrats in the Maryland suburbs have attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars for their own reelections. Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening, for example, has raised more than $750,000.
Groups on both sides of the abortion issue are also trying to put money behind their convictions. The Maryland Right to Life PAC, the state's chief antiabortion organization, reported raising around $45,000. Its counterpart, the Maryland chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League, has raised around $35,000, and has already sent $6,000 of that to favored candidates.
Other special-interest groups had far more to spend and appeared to be raising record amounts of money. Top money-raisers included the Realtors political action committee, which raised $830,000 and gave contributions of $1,000 or more to 28 General Assembly incumbents. Maryland Legal PAC, a consortium of trial lawyers, has given $1,000 or more to 65 legislative candidates, mostly incumbents.
In finance statements filed with the state today, Schaefer's "Reflections" campaign organization reported spending more than $1 million, with $855,000 in reserve. While that amount far exceeds Schaefer's competitors, it still puts the incumbent on a much more modest spending pace than in 1986, when he faced a bitter Democratic primary with then-Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs.
Schaefer spent more than $3 million in that primary and general election. By contrast, Schaefer campaign manager Jim Smith said there are no more major fund-raisers planned for the governor before the November general election.
"People really extended themselves in 1986," Smith said, when the financial support was needed against Sachs.
This time, GOP candidate William S. Shepard has raised just a fraction of what the governor has in hand. Shepard reported contributions of $62,400, but he has spent most of that and run up $31,580 in debts.
Shepard said his campaign's fund-raising performance has been below par, and blamed it on the late entry into the race of perennial GOP candidate Ross Z. Pierpont. While Pierpont has raised only $6,025, most of it his own money, Shepard said GOP contributions dry up during contested primaries. Pierpont gave Shepard $100 before deciding to run himself.
Shepard said he did not think contributions were being withheld because GOP donors disapprove of his decision to put his wife, Lois, on the ticket as lieutenant governor.
"If there is a primary, many people take a hands-off attitude," Shepard said. "We ought to be raising much more money."
Schaefer's lone opponent in the Sept. 11 Democratic primary, Anne Arundel County real estate agent and pro-gun activist Fred Griisser, has raised $8,645 and spent all but $2,250.
Schaefer's campaign reported spending nearly $400,000 on staff, polling and consultants, about $81,000 on computers and other equipment and $136,320 to stage fund-raising events. More than $75,000 went for campaign material, much of it devoted to a volunteer-action program Schaefer calls Campaign for Maryland.
So far, the Schaefer campaign has made only one major contribution to another campaign -- $15,000 to a largely incumbent slate of Prince George's County Democrats led by Glendening and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.
Glendening and Miller have proved prolific fund-raisers themselves. Glendening, relying heavily on developers, builders and the real estate industry, has amassed $739,000 in contribution, and has $376,000 in the bank. He is opposed by County Council member Floyd N. Wilson, whose report was not available. He said in a telephone interview that he has raised about $100,000.
Miller, meanwhile, has raised more than $396,000, and still has $208,000 on hand for his own campaign, and, conceivably, those of other senators or delegates he wants to help. In Maryland, there is no limit on what one campaign may transfer to another. In addition, the Miller-led 27th District Legislative Committee has raised an additional $148,000 for the reelection of Miller and the election of his slate of three House candidates.
Glendening's treasury is almost three times that of any other county executive candidate in the Washington suburbs.
Montgomery County Exective Sidney Kramer reported raising $243,245 for his reelection campaign against County Councilman Neal Potter. Kramer continued to draw substantial support from the area business community, a fact Potter has criticized as evidence of Kramer's pro-growth policies.
Kramer's report included donations of $1,000 each from business executives Herbert H. Haft and Robert M. Haft, Capitol Centre and sports team owner Abe Pollin, Prince George's County developer Mark Vogel and some of the area's most prominent developers. The report states that the campaign still has about $137,000 in cash on hand.
Potter reported contributions of $32,837, much of it in amounts ranging from $10 to $50, and with only $12,045 remaining in the account.
During dueling news conferences, Kramer charged today that Potter has taken "the low road" in suggesting that Kramer's contributions from developers have "compromised my integrity and independence," while Potter continued to paint himself as a reform candidate who would reduce the executive's power in plotting growth.
Potter's complaint about Kramer's business contributions is "one charge, whether made through innuendo or directly, that I cannot tolerate," said Kramer, whose campaign has pointed out the many small individual contributions he has received.
In Anne Arundel County, where six candidates are vying to fill a vacant county executive seat, Republican Robert R. Neall led the pack with $287,000. As of today, Neall reported $55,360 on hand and $19,000 in debts. Neall's primary opponent, William J. Steiner Jr., raised only $315.
Of the four Democrats running to succeed County Executive James Lighthizer, County Councilman Michael F. Gilligan has raised the most so far, $261,000. Gilligan has spent all but $45,615.
County Councilman Theodore J, Sophocleus has raised $222,440. He has almost $21,000 remaining.
The two remaining Democrats, former Annapolis Mayor Dennis Callahan and former delegate Patricia Aiken, are trailing in contributions. Callahan's campaign reported raising $47,390 since last November, and has about $24,000 left. Aiken said she has raised $7,700, which includes $3,000 of her own money, and spent all but $1,700.
In Howard County, County Execuitve Elizabeth Bobo has far outdistanced her rivals, raising $104,540 with $43,175 remaining. Republican candidate Gil South has raised $6,300 and spent all but $1,000. Staff writers Lisa Leff, Sue Anne Pressley and Fern Shen and researcher Patricia Kraft contributed to this report.