Sen. Ben Cardin -- one of 25 Democratic incumbents up for re-election in 2018 -- had a relatively slow first few months of fundraising this year, bringing in roughly half the amount he did during the equivalent quarter in his last election.
Cardin, who is in his second term, raised $324,553 during the first three months of the year, just over $242,000 of which came from individual donors and another $82,500 of which came from political action committees. He spent nearly $117,000, according to a summary of the report reviewed by The Baltimore Sun.
Cardin, 73, has not yet said definitively whether he will run for reelection in 2018, and will be the subject of speculation about his future until he does so. The Baltimore native has taken on a more high-profile role in Washington during his second term as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Cardin will report having $912,000 on hand at the end of March, roughly the same as the $1 million he had in the bank in the first quarter of 2011 — the equivalent quarter for his last election in 2012. In that quarter, Cardin raised $641,979 and received tens of thousands more from a joint-state fundraising effort.
A Cardin spokesperson said the senator's campaign "purposefully delayed" fundraising at the start of this year "after such a bruising national election." The aide said the campaign has planned an "aggressive political schedule" in the second quarter.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen raised $6.3 million for his successful race last year to fill the seat left open by retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Maryland's Senate seats are generally considered safe for Democrats, and so most fundraising occurs for the primary.
Cardin, elected to the Senate in 2006 to succeed Paul Sarbanes, won a nine-way primary in 2012 with more than 74 percent of the vote and won the general that year with 56 percent of the vote.
Forty-five percent of all voters and 53 percent of Democrats said that they approved of the job Cardin is doing, according to a Goucher Poll in February. Roughly one-third of all voters did not have an opinion of Cardin.