- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele has raised more money for a U.S. Senate bid than all but one Democratic candidate, new campaign-finance reports show.

Although Mr. Steele, a Republican, has not announced whether he plans to run for the seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, he has raised more than $400,000 for a campaign and has about $350,000 in cash on hand, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

That’s more than all the declared candidates vying to replace Mr. Sarbanes, except U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat who raised $837,000 in the past three months and has $1.5 million in the bank.

“Should the lieutenant governor decide to run, he will be a very formidable candidate and someone who will also have the resources necessary to mount a successful campaign,” said Dan Ronayne, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is helping Mr. Steele’s exploratory committee.

Former congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume raised about $80,000 in the past three months, according to financial reports.

American University professor Allan Lichtman has raised more than $250,000 — most of it from a personal loan after mortgaging his house.

Lise Van Susteren, a former psychiatrist and the sister of Fox News Channel talk-show host Greta Van Susteren, also has raised more than $250,000.

More money redux

Former Baltimore health commissioner Peter Beilenson has the early fundraising lead in the race for U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin’s 3rd Congressional District seat.

Since announcing his candidacy last summer, Mr. Beilenson has raised $234,900, nearly $88,000 more than state Sen. Paula Colodny Hollinger, his nearest competitor in a crowded Democratic primary field.

“We’re really pleased,” Mr. Beilenson said. “We’ve had a real outpouring of support from all over the district, both in terms of going door-to-door and actually meeting people and going to parades and festivals, as well as through contributions.”

Mrs. Hollinger said her fundraising efforts did not begin in earnest until after Labor Day.

“I have won races with adequate money, and I have won seats where I have been very highly overspent by my opponents,” Mrs. Hollinger said. “I know my abilities out there on the campaign trail, and I know I will raise enough money to win the race.”

Two other Democrats — businessman and former congressional candidate Oz Bengur and attorney John Sarbanes, the son of the senator — have raised just over $100,000 apiece.

Reports from Anne Arundel County Council member Bill Burlison, a former southeast Missouri congressman, and Delegate Neil Quinter, Howard County Democrat, were not available last week.

Looking to run

A top Democrat in the Maryland General Assembly has formed an exploratory committee to weigh a run for state attorney general.

Delegate Anthony G. Brown, the majority whip in the House, filed papers for the committee with the Maryland State Board of Elections last week.

The Prince George’s County Democrat intends to announce whether he will run for the post before the legislative session begins in January.

Mr. Brown returned earlier this year from serving a tour in Iraq with the Army Reserves — a posting that forced him to miss this year’s General Assembly session.

Mr. Brown had been mentioned as a possible contender for several political positions in the 2006 race, including lieutenant governor and U.S. senator. But he said he will focus on the attorney general’s race. He said his decision could be affected by incumbent Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr.’s plans.

Expert advice

Loudoun County is being developed at a pretty fast clip, so the county government is treading carefully as it decides what to do with about 100 acres it owns in Ashburn.

They had a panel of experts from the D.C.-based Urban Land Institute do a study. The nonprofit research group is recommending that the county retain ownership of the land between Waxpool and Farmwell roads.

The institute says it would be a good place to build a science and technology academy for students from grade school through high school. It’s fitting, considering all the technology companies in Loudoun, according to the institute.

Appointed

Jane Lawton, 61, has been appointed as a Democratic member of the Maryland House of Delegates from Montgomery County.

The appointment fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Democratic Delegate John Adams Hurson.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee picked Mrs. Lawton, and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. appointed her to the position Friday.

She is Montgomery County’s cable communications administrator and previously served as a special assistant to the county executive.

Mr. Hurson left the legislature to take on a lobbying job in Washington as executive vice president of government affairs for the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.

A lesson in crime

Some students in Easton, Md., have received a lesson about environmental crime from the state’s top experts.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. and Environmental Secretary Kendl Philbrick talked Friday to students at Easton Middle School about the costs involved with illegal dumping of toxic wastes.

The sixth-graders then had a chance to investigate a mock crime and took a look at one of the response vehicles the state uses during environmental emergencies.

Sour on Ellen

Twelve women’s advocacy groups have sent a letter to President Bush urging him to withdraw the nomination of Ellen Sauerbrey for the U.S. State Department’s top refugee and population post.

The groups say Mrs. Sauerbrey is unfit for the job and hostile to women’s rights. They say Mrs. Sauerbrey has never worked with refugees, opposes reproductive rights and opposes working with the United Nations.

The former Maryland delegate and gubernatorial candidate is now the U.S. representative to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. She was Maryland chairwoman for Mr. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

If her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Mrs. Sauerbrey would oversee more than $700 million in programs for refugee protection, resettlement and humanitarian assistance.

Still running

More than four months after A. Robert Kaufman was critically wounded during a robbery at his home, the social activist and Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate continues to cope with the effects of the attack.

He’s been in and out of area hospitals. His mood has gone up and down. He’s been stunned by the outpouring of sympathy he’s received.

And he’s been frustrated that his health has hampered his ability to get his message out.

Speaking recently from his bed at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, shortly after his health took an abrupt turn for the worse, the 74-year-old gadfly said he is determined to press forward with his dark-horse campaign for the seat of retiring five-term Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

A tenant of Mr. Kaufman’s is charged with stabbing him several times with a screwdriver and beating him on the head with a hammer while seeking money to buy drugs.

• Robert Redding Jr. contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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