Vice President Walter Mondale and thousands of Maryland Democrats, including most of its top politicians, streamed into the Convention Center here tonight for a fund raiser that generated about $200,000 for Jimmy Carter's state primary campaign.
Mondale slipped into the $25 and $100 fund raiser only long enough to extol Carter's urban programs and call for an "end to the fighting" of the primary campaign.
All around him was Maryland's political establishment -- from Gov. Harry Hughes to the loneliest maverick candidates in the May 13 Democratic primary -- applauding and consuming hors d'oeuvres and drinks in a testimony to the Carter campaign's money raising clout.
Nathan Landow, the Montgomery County builder who spent weeks organizing the fund raiser, said after it was over that nearly 5,000 persons had purchsed tickets and attended, including about 200 elected officials. Landow said the event would net about $200,000 for the Carter campaign, which had already raised $210,000 in Maryland.
Much of that money was delivered by the dozens of state legislators, local mayors, and precinct officials who have been Carter's greatest resource in Maryland and who tonight fulfilled the promises that most of them made in endorsing Carter early this year.
The turnout of state Democrats was so great that even men like State Sen. Edward T. Conroy (D-Prince George's), a Kennedy supporter who is running for U.S. senator, felt obligated to come. "I'm here because this is where all the Democrats are tonight," Conroy said.
Landow and other Carter organizers noted triumphantly that a similar fund-raising event by Kennedy here three weeks ago attracted only a little more than 300 contributors.
However, many of the state politicians who attended tonight said that Carter's lopsided fund-raising victory in the state did not necessarily indicate how the votes would be cast in the upcoming primary.
"It's a difficult campaign," said House Speaker Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Baltimore City), who has been working for Carter in northwest Baltimore. "I don't think most people have made up their minds yet."
Mondale told the crowd that "we are in the middle of the heated, hard-fought race, and the rivalry is intense." He then quickly deflected his remarks from politics to baseball by adding: "But I predict tonight that Baltimore will beat the Yankees."