Montgomery County Council President Tom Perez (D-Silver Spring) is going on a nationwide fundraising tour.

With so many Democrats running for state, local or federal offices in Maryland in 2006, Perez is trying to build a national base to help him in his possible bid for attorney general.

Perez has said he will run for the job if incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. (D) decides not to seek reelection. State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler also is considering the race, regardless of Curran's decision.

Gansler has been raising money for years to prepare for the contest. As of January, the last time state candidates had to file campaign finance reports, Gansler had $850,000 on hand. Last month, he picked up another $350,000 at a fundraiser at the Bethesda home of Lissa Muscatine, who is married to a Washington Post reporter.

In January, Perez had just $8,000 in his campaign account but has been picking up the pace in the money race ever since. Perez, a former federal prosecutor who is the son of Dominican immigrants, will travel from coast to coast raising money later this month.

On Oct. 25, Donna E. Shalala, secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, will host a fundraiser for Perez in New York.

Perez worked for Shalala between 1999 and 2001, when he was the department's director of the Office for Civil Rights.

The following day, Alex Padilla, the president of the Los Angeles City Council, will host an event for Perez in that city.

Perez and Padilla both are active in the National Community for Latino Leadership.

A self-described progressive, Perez is hoping his brand of Democratic politics will draw donors who might be interested in seeing Hispanics expand their reach in government.

"There are people who are what I call progressive entrepreneurs across the country who are deeply troubled by this president and realize we need to build progressive leadership in every state," Perez said.

Perez also will be reaching out to his college buddies. He attended Brown University, Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Debate Slate

The election is still more than a year away, but the two Democratic candidates for county executive are starting to debate.

On Monday, the District 14, 15, 17 and 39 Democratic clubs will host a dinner debate between the candidates -- council member Steven A. Silverman (D-At Large) and former council member Isiah Leggett -- at the Golden Bull Restaurant in Gaithersburg.

Susan Turnbull, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will moderate.

Dinner tickets are $32, and dinner starts at 7 p.m. But it costs nothing to watch the debate, which starts at 8.

Then on Nov. 2, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a debate between Silverman and Leggett at Indian Spring Country Club.

That debate, which begins at 7 p.m., is likely to be moderated by Richard N. Parsons, the chamber's chief executive.

People who want to watch this debate will have to pony up $100.

Politics and Pies

County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) is turning 50 on Oct. 25.

And if it's Duncan's birthday, it's time for the Annual Duncan Family Barbecue.

The event, a low-dollar fundraiser for Duncan's political campaigns, is being held Sunday at Smokey Glen Farm in Gaithersburg. It is expected to draw a vast array of local and state Democratic elected officials, activists and longtime Duncan supporters.

Rumor is that the food, especially the pies, have been unbeatable in years past. And last year, Duncan came within words of saying he was running for governor but then held back.

This year, with Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) already an announced Democratic candidate for governor, there's no telling what Duncan will say at his bash.

And what does he want for a gift this year?

County Council President Tom Perez, above, and State's Attorney Douglas F. Gansler, below, are considering running for state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.'s position.