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Burns' cupboard nearly bare But Schmoke coffers stay flush with cash


ANNAPOLIS -- Clarence H. "Du" Burns has nearly exhausted his campaign treasury in his bid to unseat Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke. The mayor, meanwhile, remains flush with cash and is trying to decide whether to spend it on television in the last week of the city's Democratic primary campaign.

"We're ready," Mr. Schmoke said yesterday. "The question is whether to do it."

Mr. Burns apparently faces no such indecision about television -- even though he acknowledged through a spokesman that his campaign has a "zero balance."

"We have a television budget all laid out," said Robert Fink, a Burns campaign spokesman. "We are poised and ready." He said the campaign was confident it could pay for the TV ads with the money it expects to raise between now and primary day.

The latest campaign finance reports on the Sept. 12 city primary on file at the state board of elections here underscore the wide gap in resources available to the incumbent mayor, who has raised $1.6 million and still has $258,000 left, and Mr. Burns, who has raised $134,000 and spent virtually all of it.

In a statement issued through Mr. Fink, Mr. Burns made a virtue of the relative poverty of his campaign. "We're not getting millions of dollars," he said. "The people who support us are giving $5, $10, $20, and we spend it as it comes in."

To get him through the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Burns borrowed another $12,000, bringing his total campaign debt to $27,000, according to the campaign reports. The most recent loans were for $10,000 from Pless Jones, of 3000 block of Ridgewood Avenue in Baltimore, and $2,000 from Quille Parking, which is owned by Mr. Burns' campaign chairman, Allen J. Quille.

Between Aug. 14 and Aug. 30, the period covering the most recent campaign finance reports, the Burns campaign took in $15,651. But it spent $24,230.

In comparison, the Schmoke campaign has not raised a cent in the past two weeks.

Most recently, the Schmoke campaign paid $13,675 to a polling firm in Alexandria, Va., Cooper and Seacrest Associates, and $10,421 to his media consultant, Shorr and Associates, of Philadelphia, the reports show.

The mayor also paid $1,000 in salary to a member of his mayoral staff, Angela Gibson, who has been working on his campaign, the report said.

With the election eight days away, it was unclear whether the mayor would commit large amounts of money to a major television blitz, and how much Mr. Schmoke was preparing to give to other candidates farther down on the ballot.

Mr. Schmoke said that two of his radio commercials began airing Monday but that he has yet to decide whether to embark on a television campaign.

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