There are fund-raisers, and then there aren't fund-raisers.
With the gubernatorial sweepstakes underway, the expected rivals for the Democratic nomination include Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. Both have scheduled big fund-raisers.
But the Democratic National Committee postponed a large Maryland money-raiser featuring President Clinton that had been planned for last week in Baltimore. The DNC had hoped to raise $300,000. The national Democrats were warned by their Maryland counterparts that anybody with big bucks was concentrating on the Baltimore mayor's race, but the DNC went forward anyway.
A Maryland Democratic official reported that tickets were being sold at an adequate rate but that not many people were saying they would actually show up for the luncheon event. The Democrats decided it might be poor form for the president to speak to a less than full room, so the national Democrats said they would try again some other time.
"The DNC asked the president not to come after taking a look at the calendar and realizing we didn't want to compete with local Democratic races in Maryland," DNC spokeswoman Jenny Backus said. Democrats plan to reschedule.
In the meantime, Townsend has a $500-a-person event scheduled for Port Discovery in Baltimore on Nov. 17.
On Oct. 20, Townsend raised $30,000 at a $500-a-person fund-raiser at Cafe Neon, a waterfront restaurant in Baltimore.
Duncan plans a Nov. 10 fund-raiser at the Marriott Hotel in Bethesda. A ticket to the private reception before the main event is $1,000; otherwise, it's $250 a person.
That will be Duncan's one big money-raising event this fall. But hundreds flocked to his annual family barbecue for $25 a ticket last Sunday at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg.
Young Seeks Help With Legal Bills
Some politicians raise money for campaigns, others for their lawyers. Former senator Larry Young, the Democrat from Baltimore who was acquitted of corruption charges last month, held a small fund-raiser Oct. 22 to help pay his legal bills.
Nearly 300 people paid $25 apiece to hear music at the Arena Players, a small theater. Young said that the money raised will be seed money for a much larger fund-raiser this year aimed at defraying his legal fees, which he said exceeded $125,000.
As for when he will start raising money for a run for office, Young--who became the first senator in state history to be expelled from the General Assembly on ethics charges--said wait and see.
"Absolutely, I'm not ruling it out," Young said. But he added that it's not in the "top 10 things" he wants to do as he gets his life back in order after his two-week trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Walter M. Baker, of Cecil County, one of the General Assembly's most powerful Democrats, is speaking at a fund-raising breakfast for Republican freshman Sen. Alexander X. Mooney, of Frederick County, on Nov. 16.
Mooney, one of the Senate's most ardent conservatives, and other Republicans on the committee have become some of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's most vociferous opponents, derailing, among other things, his proposal for gay rights legislation last year. Glendening said recently that unless the makeup of the committee changes, he won't reintroduce the legislation next year.
The committee also will hear what is expected to be the governor's most controversial proposal in the coming session, the eventual mandating of "smart gun" technology for handguns sold in the state.
Mooney described Baker as his mentor: "He's a very conservative man fiscally," he said. "I work with him real well. It's nice that someone in a Democratic leadership [role] will put aside partisanship."
Baker said: "I am a Democrat in an election year, and the rest of the time I represent all the people. I work very well with my members. We are team players."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Lt. Gov. KathleenKennedy Townsend
CAPTION: Montgomery Executive Douglas M. Duncan