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Sarbanes maintains his lead in fundraising

The Baltimore Sun

Michael Sarbanes, an activist and candidate for City Council president, raised slightly more money than incumbent Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake over the past few weeks but has twice as much cash on hand heading into the final week before the Democratic primary.

The latest campaign finance reports, which cover Aug. 8 through Aug. 26, will show Sarbanes raised $106,914 and has $222,687 on hand, according to his campaign. He spent $132,436 during the period.

Rawlings-Blake will report raising $89,944, with $117,291 on hand. She spent $193,435 over the 2 1/2 -week period.

The campaign finance reports, which had to be filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections by midnight yesterday, are the last time the candidates will disclose their contributions before the Sept. 11 Democratic primary election.

Sarbanes and Rawlings-Blake are the front-runners in a four-way race for City Council president. City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. raised about $37,000 during the period and has $7,000 on hand, said his campaign treasurer. Charles Ulysses Smith, a frequent candidate, has not previously filed campaign finance reports.

Reports released earlier this month showed Sarbanes slightly ahead of Rawlings-Blake. Between Jan. 11 and Aug. 7, Sarbanes had raised $357,000, compared with $320,000 raised by Rawlings-Blake.

At that time, he had $248,209, compared with Rawlings-Blake's $220,783 balance.

But Sarbanes had raised questions about a campaign account that the Rawlings-Blake committee had closed in the spring, which showed a negative balance of $64,927 but somehow ended up with a balance of zero. The discrepancy caused the campaign to open a new account in early June.

Luke Clippinger, Rawlings-Blake's campaign manager, said the campaign has filed an amendment that reconciles about half of the $64,927. Clippinger said the campaign found typographical errors and checks that were not initially reported. He said the committee will close out with a zero balance.

"We have got part of it figured out," said Clippinger. "We are working diligently to figure out other problems with the account."


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