- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will help raise money for Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in Bethesda this evening, two days before her husband, former President Bill Clinton, attends a $4,000-a-plate reception in Baltimore for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
Although the two events are not expected to raise the $1.8 million President Bush earned for Republican nominee Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. at a fund-raiser earlier this month, Townsend spokesman Peter Hamm said he expects a "very good turnout."
Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, and state Sens. Gloria G. Lawlah and Ida G. Ruben are among the Maryland Democrats expected to speak before the dinner. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and Mrs. Townsend's uncle, is also scheduled to speak.
Mrs. Clinton is expected to rally for women's votes for Mrs. Townsend.
With three weeks to go before the election, Mrs. Townsend and Mr. Ehrlich are in a neck-and-neck race. A Mason-Dixon poll released this week shows one percentage point separating them, with Mrs. Townsend leading with 46 percent of the votes.
Campaign finance reports filed Aug. 30 show that Mrs. Townsend had $6.6 million and Mr. Ehrlich $4.4 million in campaign money. The reports were filed before the Bush fund-raiser that enriched Mr. Ehrlich's war chest.
A seat at tonight's event with Mrs. Clinton at the Marriott Hotel in Bethesda will cost $1,000. Supporters will pay $1,000 or $4,000 a plate for dinner with Mr. Clinton Friday at the Wyndham Hotel in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Mrs. Townsend is considered a longtime Clinton loyalist and has called herself a "fan" of the former president.
Mr. Hamm said the Clinton event is not a Democratic candidate's response to Mr. Bush's fund-raiser for Mr. Ehrlich but the result of a long friendship and mutual respect.
"This was in the works a long time before President Bush agreed to raise money for Mr. Ehrlich," Mr. Hamm said. "Bill Clinton is a public figure very highly regarded by Democrats and Maryland voters."
He also said Mrs. Townsend and the former president had similar views on most issues.
Both endorse sensible government programs and sensible politics, Mr. Hamm said.
Karen Dunn, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton, said the senator thinks that Mrs. Townsend would make a "great governor" for Maryland, and that she is looking forward to campaigning with her.
Mrs. Clinton helped raise $250,000 for Christopher Van Hollen, the Montgomery County Democratic candidate for the 8th District congressional seat held by GOP Rep. Constance A. Morella, at a fund-raiser Oct. 2. First lady Laura Bush is expected to attend a fund-raiser for Mrs. Morella on Oct. 30.
Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese N. DeLeaver said the campaign expected some party notables to help raise more money to meet their $8 million goal by Election Day.
She added that the campaign was not worried about Mr. Clinton's support for Mrs. Townsend in a state that has been supportive of him in the past. "We were very proud to have the commander in chief endorse our candidate. This has been a very national race from the start, and we knew we would see a lot of national political figures here," she said.


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