Senate candidates solicit funds for 2012
With an important fundraising deadline for congressional candidates approaching at the end of this week, a handful of campaigns in Maryland were out seeking last-minute donations Tuesday – and the pleas for cash are likely to grow louder over the next few days.
First in line was Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is one of 17 incumbent Democrats across the country up for reelection in 2012. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s campaign shop sent an e-mail to supporters Tuesday, urging Democrats to “help Ben get a head start on what’s sure to be a tough race.” The e-mail says that Cardin’s campaign is “about to go into full swing, so he needs to build up his resources now.”
As is often the case with these requests, the e-mail sprinkles in plenty of criticism of the other side for core voters. In this case, O’Malley’s e-mail argues that the Republican Party stands for tearing “down our safety nets, our programs and our rights rather than rebuilding and moving our nation forward.”
The e-mail came on the same day that Cardin’s campaign distributed a request from the senator’s wife, Myrna Cardin, who pointed out that the two met when they were in elementary school. Her request notes what is really driving the spate of fundraising e-mails -- the second-quarter period for campaign finance reporting ends June 30 -- and says that “a contribution of $5 or more” will “give him the strength he needs for the campaign ahead.”
On the Republican side, both Eric Wargotz, the former Queen Anne's County commissioner, and Daniel Bongino, the former Secret Service agent, also asked for cash. Wargotz, who ran against incumbent Barbara A. Mikulski last year, solicited donations in an e-mail headlined “the most dangerous liberal” in which he calls Cardin “dangerous” and “craftier” than other Democrats.
“Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Chuck Schumer push their liberal agenda loudly and obnoxiously. They attract lots of attention and you know all about them,” the e-mail reads, referring to the Democratic senators from California, Massachusetts and New York. “Ben Cardin is much craftier. He’s quiet. He works behind the scenes. He’s a master of the legislative process and he does a lot of damage without you ever knowing anything about it.”
Wargotz told The Sun last week that he is considering a run against Cardin but is not officially in the race. In the e-mail, he reiterates that position but also says he has “decided to explore a run against him.”
While Cardin encourages donors to give at values as low as $5, Wargotz sets his “bare minimum” at $25.
Bongino also sent out a message this week, attacking Cardin for what he called "disturbing ideology" and noting that "every dollar helps."
The 2012 election is still a long way off, but the amount of money House and Senate candidates can haul in at the end of each quarter will start being scrutinized for signs of strength or weakness soon. The campaign finance reports, which are filed with Federal Election Commission, are due July 15.
In his first quarter report this year, Cardin reported raising nearly $756,000, which includes $114,000 he collected through joint fundraising with other candidates, FEC records show. During that same period, Wargotz reported raising $3,471 with more than $666,000 in debt. Bongino got into the race after the deadline to file a first quarter report this year.
This item was updated with information from Daniel Bongino's campaign.