Like most candidates running for re-election, Rep. John Sarbanes has spent much of his time recently at fundraisers, pressing the flesh in pursuit of campaign cash.
But donors who show up to meet the Baltimore County Democrat quickly learn he is not there to pitch his own candidacy. And he's not asking for a $5,000 check.
Sarbanes would prefer $50, or even $5.
As candidates across the country engage in another mind-bogglingly expensive election — one estimate has put the cost of the midterms at nearly $4 billion — Sarbanes has been using his own campaign to test a proposal he believes would shift the emphasis from big money to small-dollar donors.