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Garagiola raises $330K, campaign says

State Sen. Rob Garagiola will report raising $330,000 for his Democratic bid for Congress, a campaign official said Tuesday -- a haul that is twice as large as what Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett is expected to report bringing in over the same period.

Garagiola, who is running in Maryland’s newly redrawn 6th Congressional District, formally entered the race in November and has been working aggressively behind the scenes to line up political and financial support. A Bartlett spokeswoman said recently that the congressman had received about $100,000 in donations during the period and had another $60,000 in commitments.

The 6th District's general election is shaping up to be one of the most competitive -- and expensive -- in the nation, though much of the money will come from outside groups. Both Garagiola and Bartlett will face challenges in the state’s April 3 primary.

The year-end campaign finance report will be a critical one to dissect for races statewide. The report, which must be filed with the Federal Election Commission by the end of the month, is the last one voters will see until days before the primary takes place. While the candidate with the most money doesn’t always win, the ability to raise cash is an important indication of support.

Garagiola’s sum puts him in a solid position, particularly if he can maintain or exceed that pace throughout the year. In October, Bartlett reported having $260,727 in the bank, meaning he may still have a larger cash-on-hand balance heading into 2012, depending how fast the campaigns are spending money.

In the Democratic primary, Garagiola will face financier John Delaney, who has stated his willingness to invest his own money in the race. Strong fundraising or self-funding by Delaney could force Garagiola to burn more money in the primary.    

"Our strong quarter reflects the general support of Rob's candidacy," Garagiola campaign manager Sean Rankin said in a statement. "But let's not kid ourselves: Rob is running against an incredibly wealthy guy that Forbes magazine called a 'loan shark,' who will try to buy this seat by manufacturing a new biography." 

In a statement, Delaney campaign spokeswoman Katie Burnham said Delaney "has a record of creating thousands of jobs and has the experience we need during these tough economic times" and said it is "a shame Rob has already resorted to the typical sad campaign tactics of a career politician."

Delaney did not release fundraising numbers, though.

The year-end FEC report covers the fourth quarter of 2011. A spokesman for Bartlett could not be reached for comment.    

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