By DAVID DeGENNARO
Capital News Service
His latest campaign contribution filings with the Federal Election Commission show that he is well ahead of his Republican challenger, Anne Arundel Circuit Court Clerk Robert Duckworth.
As of June 30, Cardin had raised slightly more than $675,017 since the beginning of 2003, about six times more than Duckworth's $110,779, according to the filings. As of July 1, Cardin had $527,151 on hand, while Duckworth had $42,174.
Cardin's campaign director, Jamie Fontaine, said the campaign needs the extra money to continue to introduce Cardin to voters he gained in the 2002 redistricting, and to run against Duckworth.
Duckworth, circuit clerk since 1994, is a stronger challenger than those Cardin has faced in recent elections, she added.
"We're excited to have an opponent who can debate us on the issues," Fontaine said.
"I can do better than those who have run before me," said Duckworth, who called the election "very winnable."
Duckworth lost bids for Congress in 1990 and 1992, first against Democrat Thomas McMillen and then fellow Republican Wayne Gilchrest. He won the Republican primary earlier this year, after the state GOP recruited him as the best candidate to take on Cardin.
While Duckworth had raised the second-highest amount of money among candidates challenging Maryland congressional incumbents, most of his available money _ $36,000 _ came in the form of a loan he made to his campaign during the last quarter.
"I show my commitment by what I put in," Duckworth said.
He is confident he will raise more money before the election and noted that Gov. Robert Ehrlich has endorsed him and sent a letter to Republicans in the district asking them to support his campaign.
Duckworth said he is focusing on small donors and has two fund-raising events planned in the next two months.
Fontaine said Cardin's campaign is using small, community fund-raisers to bring in more money.
If Cardin succeeds in raising $1 million, it will be the most he has raised for a campaign since he first won office in 1986. He typically has raised between $500,000 and $700,000, according to FEC figures compiled by Political Money Line, a political watchdog group.
With nearly $400,000 to go, Cardin's campaign will have to raise money faster than it has before.
The most it has raised in any quarter during the current election cycle is about $187,000; it raised about $120,000 in the last quarter of the 2002 election cycle. The campaign raised $130,005 in the last filing period, from April 1 to June 30.