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Kathy Szeliga raised $582K for Maryland Senate bid

Michele Murphy, left, and Travis Murphy, center, Baltimore city residents, chat with Republican state Delegate Kathy Szeliga, campaigning for the Maryland Senate seat in the Republican primary at a 24-hour diner in Canton.
Michele Murphy, left, and Travis Murphy, center, Baltimore city residents, chat with Republican state Delegate Kathy Szeliga, campaigning for the Maryland Senate seat in the Republican primary at a 24-hour diner in Canton. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for Maryland's open Senate seat, raised nearly $600,000 in the second quarter of this year -- significantly more than previous GOP statewide candidates here -- her campaign said Wednesday.

Szeliga, a Baltimore County Republican, raised just more than $582,000 from April through the end of June, the campaign said. The figure is more than double the amount raised by Republican Dan Bongino during the same period of his campaign against Sen. Ben Cardin in 2012, and it is slightly more than Gov. Larry Hogan raised from donors in 2014.

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Szeliga is running against Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen for the seat that will be left open next year by the retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

"We are thrilled with the amount of support Kathy has received in this race so far from all across the state of Maryland," Szeliga spokeswoman Leslie Shedd said in a statement. "Clearly these numbers show that Kathy Szeliga is on the exact same path to defy expectations that Larry Hogan was on two years ago."

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Szeliga will report having just more than $254,000 on hand, a less strong number. Van Hollen, already a heavy favorite in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by better than two-to-one, had several million dollars in the bank heading into the April primary. Even though he probably burned through much of that cash in the final weeks of the race, he remains a prodigious fundraiser.

Republicans, including Szeliga, have pointed to Hogan's upset win in 2014 as a model for how the party can win statewide elections here. But while Szeliga is running an aggressive campaign and has the support of the popular governor she also faces strong headwinds: The presidential election is expected to drive more Democrats to the polls in Maryland than turned out two years ago.

Szeliga will report donations from dozens of high profile Republicans, including Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa. The Szeliga campaign said that more than 80 percent of its fundraising came from Marylanders.

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