It is commonplace for campaigns to lean heavily on supporters to pony up in the final days of a fundraising reporting period. But an e-mail solicitation sent last week by U.S. Senate candidate Kweisi Mfume put the stakes in unusually stark terms.

Mfume, a former Maryland congressman and NAACP leader, said a good report for the period ending Thursday "would create a groundswell of support for my campaign."

But, he cautioned, "a weak one could sink it."

Reached Friday, Mfume acknowledged that the consequences might not be as dire as the letter made it sound. In other words, he sees no scenario in which he drops out of the race.

"The nature of urgent fundraising appeals is to underscore the urgency," Mfume said. "I do want people to recognize this is an important reporting period, but anything we get is a good report."

Mfume's early fundraising has included Internet solicitations and a "10 for 10" strategy, where supporters are encouraged to find 10 people willing to give $10.

He said his campaign is also planning larger, more traditional fundraisers in October and January, well after the close of the current reporting period.

Steeling for Steele

Two weeks before Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) announced that he would form an exploratory committee to look seriously at running for the U.S. Senate, the Democratic Party was revving up for battle.

On June 1, the governor's legal office received a barrage of requests under the Maryland Public Records Act from Lauren Weiner, a researcher at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The requests seek virtually everything Steele has written or said since becoming lieutenant governor in 2003. One seeks details relating to his overseas travel, which has included trips to Paris, Barbados, South Africa and Ghana.

Phil Singer, a spokesman for the Democratic committee, said the requests are routine.

"Our motto is the same as the Boy Scouts'," Singer said. "Always be prepared."

Kreseski Departs

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) bade farewell this week to Steven L. Kreseski, who announced this month that he would be leaving as the governor's chief of staff to embark on a Capitol Hill lobbying career.

Kreseski got a rousing ovation from a crowd at the Governor Calvert House hotel in Annapolis that included not only Ehrlich loyalists but some of the governor's most aggressive political rivals.

Most notably, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) told the group he believes that Kreseski managed to do something nearly impossible in rough-and-tumble Annapolis politics: Emerge without a single enemy.

Nevins Arrives

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents elected David H. Nevins the new chairman of the board last week, replacing Clifford M. Kendall.

Nevins, an appointee of former governor Parris N. Glendening (D), was named the first student member of the Board of Regents 30 years ago after he lobbied lawmakers to add an undergraduate. Nevins has given political donations to members of both parties.

The vice chairman will be Robert L. Pevenstein, husband of Ehrlich's special assistant, campaign adviser and longtime supporter, Elaine Pevenstein.