Sarbanes, Harris lead in 2012 race for cash

Rep. John P. Sarbanes, a third-term Democrat who faces little opposition for re-election in 2012, raised more campaign cash than any other Baltimore-area member of Congress in the past three months, campaign finance reports made public over the weekend show.

The Baltimore County lawmaker reported raising $383,686 in political contributions from April through the end of June and has more than $893,000 on hand — a sizable haul for a district that political observers consider safe for Democrats.

In a statement, Sarbanes said his fundraising will allow him to run a "robust" campaign next year.

Rep. Andy Harris, the Baltimore County Republican whose district stretches to the Eastern Shore, had the next-best quarter in the Baltimore region, raising $276,576 over three months and putting nearly $415,000 in the bank. Harris represents a district that voted for a Democrat, Frank M. Kratovil Jr., in 2008.

In its predictions for 2012, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report recently switched its assessment of Harris' district from "lean Republican" to "toss-up." That's due partly to uncertainty surrounding Maryland's redistricting process, which is being led by Democrats in Annapolis.

Harris has remained publicly unfazed by the possible changes to his district, noting that he won in 2010 by a 12 percentage-point margin.

"My message of reducing wasteful government spending to kick-start job creation has resonated with Maryland families and businesses," he said in a statement.

Kratovil, who has not decided whether to run for the seat again, has not actively raised money this year, but he has kept a campaign account open. His report shows that he has $24,355 on hand and that he has spent money this year on a storage unit, a cellphone and $1,400 in "web expenses."

It's early in the campaign — Maryland's 2012 primary election is scheduled for April 3 — but initial campaign reports filed with the Federal Election Commission are often parsed for strengths and weaknesses. Incumbents who manage to post big numbers early on can sometimes clear the field of potential challengers.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the state's other Republican in Washington, raised the least of any member in the state's delegation, pulling in $28,300 in the second quarter and reporting $262,765 on hand. Bartlett, who is in his 10th term, won with more than 61 percent of the vote in 2010. But his Western Maryland district is also a potential target for redistricting.

A campaign spokesman for Bartlett did not return a request for comment.

Meanwhile, in the state's Senate race, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin's campaign said the incumbent Democrat would report raising $1 million this quarter. His detailed report was not yet available from the FEC.

One of Cardin's GOP challengers, former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino, said he would report raising about $11,000.

Bongino announced his candidacy May 31.

Other Baltimore-area House members include Baltimore County Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, who raised $125,255 and has $386,891 on hand. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of Baltimore, raised $164,915 in contributions and has $850,488 in the bank. Both are Democrats.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the House, was the state's biggest fundraiser for the quarter. The Southern Maryland lawmaker raised $716,241 for his campaign and had $996,921 in his campaign account.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jfritze

Incumbent finances

Name//Raised//Cash on hand//Debt

Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st District//$276,576//$414,641//$74,800

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-2nd District//$125,255//$386,819//$0

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-3rd District//$383,686//$893,035//$0

Rep. Donna F. Edwards, D-4th District//$93,638//$74,004//$10,020

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-5th District//$716,241//$996,921//$0

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-6th District//$28,300//$262,765//$0

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-7th District//$164,915//$850,488//$0

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-8th District//$72,606//$1,725,862//$2,209

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