- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2000

Can a candidate with $8,000 in his pocket beat a U.S. Senate incumbent who could write a check for 20 new Cadillacs?
Probably not. But Republican nominee Paul Rappaport is going to give it a try in Maryland, despite Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes' huge fund-raising lead.
Mr. Sarbanes, a Democrat, has $1,284,396 on hand, while his opponent has $8,155, according to the latest campaign figures.
Some pundits found the discrepancy laughable in these waning days before the November election.
"Eight thousand dollars can buy 24,242 first-class stamps with which to send letters to supporters to raise more damn money," said political consultant Dick Morris, a former aide to President Clinton.
"You can make some nice graphics for a lemonade stand," offered Jennifer Laszlo, Washington's well-known Democratic strategist who has worked on behalf of Mr. Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.
She recommended Mr. Rappaport, a former Howard County police chief, change his name to Paul Sarbanes in an attempt to confuse residents when they enter the voting booth.
As for Mr. Rappaport's money, Ms. Laszlo said that should be donated to his favorite charity where it will have a better chance of benefiting Marylanders.
During the latest reporting period from April 1 to June 30, Mr. Sarbanes raised $265,703 and used $96,114. Mr. Rappaport took in $24,257 during the same time including $4,000 he borrowed from himself and spent $19,312.
His cash on hand through March 31 was just $310.
As of March 31, Senate incumbents have outearned their challengers by a 10-1 margin, an average of $2 million to $200,000, according to Public Campaign, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce the role of special-interest money.
"This race is falling considerably outside that range," said Nick Nyhart, director of the group.
"Who's shortchanged in a campaign like this is voters," Mr. Nyhart said. "The decision for the voters already has been made."
Mr. Rappaport, reached during a campaign stop this week in Crisfield, Md., said he is confident he'll "have enough money come November."
He has 20 to 25 fund-raisers planned and said he is confident about his chances based on what he is hearing from disgruntled voters around the state.
"We're never going to be as successful at raising money as Paul Sarbanes," Mr. Rappaport said. "But we're going to have the grass-roots campaigning we think we can run effectively.
"I think it's going to be people that win, not money," he added.
A practicing lawyer, the challenger has never served in statewide or national politics. He has tried a few times.
Mr. Rappaport ran unsuccessfully as Ellen R. Sauerbrey's running mate in 1994's gubernatorial race, and got just 37 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. in the attorney general's race two years ago.
Still, the Sarbanes camp is taking no chances.
"He doesn't take anything for granted. That's why he's raising so much money," said Michael Davis, Mr. Sarbanes' campaign manager.
Mr. Davis refused to comment on his candidate's chances, offering instead that Mr. Sarbanes "does have a strong history of serving the people in Maryland."
Indeed, the four-term Democrat has been involved with Maryland politics since the 1960s. He first entered Congress in 1970 and served three terms as a U.S. representative.
Mr. Sarbanes, also a lawyer, is the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
His seat has long been coveted by Republicans who think Mr. Sarbanes is too liberal for his constituents and so low profile that he should be vulnerable.
The Republican Party had its best chance with William E. Brock III in 1994. But the incumbent won and spent less money than his challenger.
Mr. Brock the former representative and senator from Tennessee, former national Republican Party chairman, and former secretary of labor and trade representative for the Reagan administration sought to make history as the first person ever elected to the Senate from two states.
He dug deep into his own pockets to finance his campaign, pumping more than $800,000 of his own money into the race.
Republican pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, president of Polling Co., insisted that money doesn't always spell victory. Candidates never should underestimate the value of volunteers with bumper stickers, yard signs and friends, she said.
Miss Fitzpatrick noted the startling victory of York County Delegate Jo Ann Davis last month in the Republican primary to fill a congressional seat in Virginia's 1st District.
Mrs. Davis, who raised $43,000, upset Paul Jost, a wealthy businessman from Williamsburg with $1.1 million.
"He had all the king's horses and all the king's men … but he turned out to be a toad instead of a prince," Miss Fitzpatrick said.

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