- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008

Virginia Democrat Mark Warner raised more than five times the campaign cash for his U.S. Senate bid during the first three months of this year than both of his Republican rivals combined.

Mr. Warner received nearly $2.5 million in the first quarter compared with nearly $400,000 by James S. Gilmore III and $51,770 by Delegate Robert G. Marshall, according to Federal Election Commission filings due last week.

Mr. Warner has raised $6.3 million and spent nearly $2 million since he declared his candidacy in September, leaving him nearly $4.4 million on hand seven months before the November election.

Mr. Gilmore, who announced his candidacy in November, has raised almost $750,000 since and spent nearly $539,000, giving him $208,000 on hand, said longtime adviser Dick Leggitt.

Mr. Warner, a multimillionaire investor, succeeded Mr. Gilmore as governor in 2002. The two men have an icy relationship, setting up a potentially bitter battle to succeed Sen. John W. Warner, a Republican who is retiring after five terms.

The senator and the former governor are not related.

Mr. Leggitt said Mr. Warner’s fundraising edge won’t ensure victory.

“Y’all need to remember that two years ago at this time, [Sen.] George Allen had $7 million on hand to $200,000 for Jim Webb,” Mr. Leggitt noted, a reference to Mr. Webb’s 2006 election upset of the Republican ex-governor. Mr. Allen, however, had served a full Senate term and had chaired the National Republican Senatorial Committee; Mr. Webb didn’t declare his candidacy until February 2006.

Mr. Gilmore, a lawyer, is also a former state attorney general and former Republican National Committee chairman.

Mr. Marshall, an underdog who began his nomination fight with Mr. Gilmore on Jan. 7, spent $32,367 by the March 31 end of the reporting period. He had $19,403 on hand.

Mr. Marshall, the General Assembly’s most outspoken abortion and gay rights opponent, is asking religious conservatives to make him competitive when the nomination is decided at the Republican state convention May 31.

An independent candidate, Gail Parker, filed campaign petitions at the end of March. In 2006, she ran on a platform of establishing a statewide passenger-train network and received about 1 percent of the vote.

•••

Mr. Warner and Mr. Gilmore traded the first licks Wednesday in a race that promises to be a bruiser.

Mr. Gilmore did most of the punching during remarks at the annual Wakefield Shad Planking, Virginia’s Tidewater spring political festival.

Mr. Warner spoke of bipartisan cooperation and pledged to become a “radical centrist” if elected, but Mr. Gilmore didn’t trifle with such bipartisan pleasantries. He described Mr. Warner as an untrustworthy and tax-happy opportunist who abandoned campaign pledges to win the 2001 governor’s race and would do so again this year.

Mr. Marshall opened his remarks by leading about 2,000 people mingling beneath the pines of Wakefield in the Lord’s Prayer in memory of those slain at Virginia Tech one year earlier.

Jumping ship

A member of lame-duck Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest’s fundraising team is crossing party lines to help Democrat Frank M. Kratovil Jr. in his bid to represent Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

Lynn Caligiuri, Mr. Gilchrest’s campaign finance director, said Thursday that she would join Mr. Kratovil’s campaign.

Mr. Gilchrest, a nine-term incumbent often criticized within his party for his moderate stance on key issues, lost a bitter fight in the February primary to state Sen. Andrew P. Harris.

“Obviously many of us were disappointed in the Republican primary results. But we now have an opportunity to send someone to Washington to continue to represent our values and end the partisan attacks and divisiveness that has rendered Congress ineffective and unresponsive,” Mrs. Caligiuri said. “Frank Kratovil is the right choice.”

Mr. Gilchrest has not endorsed a candidate in the November race, but many of his staffers last month attended a “Republicans for Kratovil” breakfast on the Eastern Shore.

•••

Mr. Harris has raised nearly twice as much over the past two months as Mr. Kratovil, according to campaign officials and Federal Election Commission reports.

Mr. Harris raised more than $400,000 compared with about $190,000 for Mr. Kratovil through March 31. The period includes the three weeks leading up to the Feb. 12 primary, and the totals include money raised for the primary and the November general election.

Mr. Harris has raised nearly $1.5 million overall with $204,000 on hand, the figures show.

Mr. Kratovil has raised a total of about $430,000 with $180,000 on hand, his campaign said.

“Doubling our opponent’s fundraising totals clearly shows the Andy Harris campaign is gaining momentum heading into the general election,” said Chris Meekins, Mr. Harris’ campaign manager. “Andy’s message of lowering taxes and decreasing wasteful government spending to stimulate economic growth is resonating with voters and donors.”

Kratovil spokesman Erik Gulbrandsen said the campaign is pleased with the figures, noting that both campaigns have similar amounts of money remaining.

“We feel we’re on track to wage a competitive campaign,” he said.

The 1st District covers parts of the Eastern Shore as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties.

Mr. Praisner wins

The widower of Montgomery County Council member Marilyn J. Praisner last week won the Democratic nomination to finish her term.

Don Praisner received 44 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s four-candidate primary contest to beat school board President Nancy Navarro.

Mark Fennel, the Republican nominee for the eastern county seat in 2006, received 48 percent of the vote for his party’s nomination in a four-way race.

Mrs. Praisner died in February after heart valve replacement surgery. She was 66.

County elections officials said absentee and provisional ballots are not expected to affect the outcome.

Big money lead

Campaign finance reports show Maryland Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett has more than $281,000 in his campaign war chest compared with $19,000 for challenger Jennifer P. Dougherty.

The numbers were contained in campaign finance reports for the period Jan. 24 through March 31 that were due to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

Miss Dougherty, whose campaign had spent down to less than $800 three weeks before the February primary, ended the quarter with more than $19,000 in the bank, after raising nearly $29,000 and spending about $10,000 during the period.

Mr. Bartlett reported raising nearly $16,000 and spending almost $14,000, leaving his campaign with more than $281,000 in the bank on March 31.

Miss Dougherty, a former Frederick mayor, is running as a Democrat against Mr. Bartlett, a Republican who is seeking his eighth term.

Tom LoBianoco and Seth McLaughlin contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.


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