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Steele continues to lead in funds


Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele continued to pull ahead in fundraising for his U.S. Senate bid while several of the top contenders in the crowded 3rd Congressional District race were neck and neck in the year's second quarter, various campaigns reported yesterday.

A memo previously released by his campaign showed Steele will report raising $1.8 million this quarter, with $3 million on hand - significantly more than any other candidate in the race.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, raised $925,000 and had $2.3 million on hand, compared with former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who will report raising $135,000 with about $171,000 on hand. Despite the disparity in raising money, Mfume has performed competitively in several polls.

"People are seeing that our campaign is very viable and that it's going to be a very close race," said Mark Clack, Mfume's campaign manager.

Oren Shur, a campaign spokesman for Cardin, said in a statement that Democrats believe Cardin has the best chance of running competitively against Steele. The primary is Sept. 12 and the general election will take place Nov. 7.

"With the national Republicans making good on their promise to pump millions into the state for Michael Steele, Maryland Democrats know that Ben Cardin is the only candidate with the experience and strong campaign organization needed to defeat Steele in November," Shur said.

Joshua B. Rales, a Montgomery County businessman, will report raising $990,849 this quarter with $235,294 on hand.

Campaign finance reports in U.S. House and Senate races are filed every quarter with the Federal Election Commission. The most recent reports must be filed today, though advance information could not be obtained for many campaigns.

In the 3rd Congressional District, state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger appeared to lead the pack by raising $193,000 with $271,000 on hand. Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson raised $136,690 with $291,538 on hand.

Fundraising totals for attorney John P. Sarbanes, son of U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, were not available.

Physician Gary Applebaum, a Republican, will report raising $123,825 with $243,842 on hand. Businessman Oz Bengur expects to report $132,132 with $121,259 on hand, and Kevin O'Keeffe, a former top-level aide to the governments in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County, reported raising $49,115 with $166,393 on hand.

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