In the wide-open fight for Maryland's 2nd District congressional seat, Towson Del. Gerry Brewster continues to lead all other candidates in total money raised, with $151,000, but his most formidable opponent in the Democratic primary has made a strong, if belated start.
Since she got into the race April 27, Dundalk Del. Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis has raised $70,512, and actually out raised Mr. Brewster by about $20,000 during the latest three-month reporting period, which ended June 30.
The Brewster campaign reported $74,000 on hand after expenses, while Mrs. DeJuliis had $47,000.
The Republican front runner, Towson Del. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., reported raising a total of $123,000 -- with $78,000 of that coming in the latest reporting period. After expenses, Mr. Ehrlich had $60,000 on hand.
His most prominent opponent in the GOP primary, William J. Frank, a Rodgers Forge banker, reported raising $43,148, including $19,490 during the latest quarter. He had $7,287 on hand.
They're all hoping to succeed incumbent Republican Helen Delich Bentley, is giving up the House seat to run for governor. The 2nd District includes the central and eastern Baltimore County, all of Harford County, and a sliver of eastern Anne Arundel County.
Mrs. DeJuliis said she was heartened by the results of the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission, and she said last night she had expected Mr. Brewster to have raised as much as $300,000 by now.
"I was shocked," Mrs. DeJuliis said. "I just assumed he would have raised a lot more money."
Mr. Brewster, 35, a lawyer and former Baltimore County prosecutor, has been pegged as the front runner for the Democratic primary, but Mrs. DeJuliis said she's not convinced that he is leading.
Her campaign manager, Michael Berman, was more blunt: "That means we dried up a lot of his money. People realize it's a new ballgame."
For his part, Mr. Brewster said yesterday he's not entirely comfortable with being labeled the front runner.
He said he's taking nothing for granted, campaigning hard, seven days a week. "We're working as hard as humanly possible," he said. "I feel like I'm a vote behind."
Four other Democrats and another Republican are running in the 2nd District, but none has raised the minimum of $5,000 which requires the filing of a Federal Election Commission report.
Mr. Frank, who plans to take several weeks of his vacation to campaign for the Republican nomination in August and September, said he was pleased with how much he's raised -- since he isn't accepting any money from political action committees (PACs).
"I made a decision that I would not accept any special interest money," he said.
Mr. Ehrlich has received the most PAC money, with $36,300, followed by Mrs. DeJuliis with $27,250, and Mr. Brewster with $12,770.
Although money alone doesn't win elections, Mr. Ehrlich said, it's a "good barometer." He said he hopes to raise another $100,000 before the Sept. 13 primary.
"We've been basically focusing on our campaign," he said. "The other campaigns will take care of themselves."
But Mr. Ehrlich said he was impressed by Mrs. DeJuliis' fund-raising efforts. "That's a very impressive number," he said. "I have a great deal of respect for her. We feel she's a very serious candidate."
Others Democrats running for the 2nd District seat are Joseph John Bish Jr., 37, a Westinghouse employee from Bel Air; James Edward DeLoach, Jr., an Essex businessman; Hunter J. Epperson, 63, a former steel worker who owns and operates a Dundalk 7-Eleven store; and Kauko H. Kokkonen, 56, a Towson resident who works for the Mass Transit Administration.
John Michael Fleig, a 28-year-old employee of Martin's West is running as a Republican.