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October 22, 2009

Kratovil widens money edge over Harris

Endangered Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil increased his campaign funding advantage over state Sen. Andy Harris, his potential Republican opponent, during the last three months.

Kratovil's fund-raising performance is in line with other potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents nationwide this year, according to a new study by a non-partisan watchdog group.

The latest Federal Election Commission disclosure reports show that Kratovil, a freshman congressman who represents the Eastern Shore and part of several Western Shore counties, had $691,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30.

Harris, a Baltimore County legislator, reported $313,054 cash on hand and $12,000 in campaign debts. Harris is currently Kratovil's most likely Republican opponent in next year's midterm election, having gained the tacit support of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party's House campaign arm.

During the July-September period, Kratovil raised just over $222,000, bringing his total for the year to slightly more than $862,000. Over the same period, Harris picked up a little more than $179,000, running his total contributions to just over $454,000.

More than half of the Democratic incumbent's donations--$119,600-- came from political action committees linked to some of the most heavily lobbied issues now before Congress. PACs representing health care companies, financial institutions, energy, defense and agriculture interests all contributed.

Challenger Harris picked up $30,123 from PACs. Individual contributions from fellow anesthesiologists around the country continued to be a major source of campaign cash for the obstetric anesthesiologist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, who has also been working at an Eastern Shore hospital.

The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics found that 42 potentially vulnerable Democratic House incumbents nationwide have raised an average of $842,400 since January.

Those same lawmakers--drawn from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Frontline Program, designed to help incumbents who face tough re-election fights--had an average of $646,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.

Nineteen of the 42 Democrats in the party's re-election protection program represent districts that voted for Republican John McCain in 2008, including Kratovil.

Among all endangered Democrats, Kratovil came closest to the national average for money raised, but he had a higher than average bankroll left to spend.

Harris, barred from raising money during the state legislative session, is still playing catch-up with Kratovil, and continues to lag when compared with other Republican challengers around the country.

In terms of fundraising, Kratovil is doing twice as well against Harris as other vulnerable Democrats are doing against their Republican rivals.

House Democrats whose fundraising was analyzed by the Center had 50 percent more money in the bank than their Republican challenger. Kratovil's campaign cash account is more than double Harris'.

Nationally, vulnerable Democratic incumbents raised 40 percent more than their Republican rivals over the first nine months of the year, according to the Center. Kratovil out-raised Harris by almost 90 percent.

Posted by Paul West at 1:49 PM |
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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