Wednesday, February 01, 2006

If Money Could Talk...

from [url=http://baltimorewritersproject.com/nicholas/blog/index.php?entry=entry060201-111738]The League: Reassembled[/url]

An interesting twist today in Maryland's primary race for the Democratic nomination to the US Senate contest: Allan Lichtman has over two and a half times the cash on hand as Kweisi Mfume.

The news, announced by the Lichtman campaign in a press release, deals another blow to one of Mfume's greatest assests: assumption. Since the beginning of the race, The League and other Maryland political observers have always assumed that Mfume's experience as Congressman and NAACP President, in addition to his wide name recognition and fundraising ties, has meant that Mfume is a strong second in the primary behind front-runner Ben Cardin. Today's news helps to shatter that assumption. By having $322,000 in cash-on-hand, compared to Mfume's $155,000, Lichtman is sending the message that he has the chance to present a significant challenge to Cardin. Perhaps, the numbers suggest, an even tougher challenge to Cardin than Mfume could offer. (The press release also notes that another contender, Lise Van Susteren, has more cash on hand than the Mfume campaign).

Although this news could be a boost for Lichtman and a blow for Mfume, appearances can be deceiving. First of all, the vast majority of Lichtman's campaign account comes from money he donated. Although it works just as well for buying campaign materials and paying those phone bills, it doesn't indicate any support among the Democratic community of donators. Second, Mfume pulled in more money than Lichtman in the fourth quarter of the year ($100,000 compared to Lichtman's $73,000, according to a Baltimore Sun report). So Mfume raised more but he also spent more, which accounts for him having less cash on hand. Third, the most recent Sun public opinion poll found that the primary "is a virtual dead heat between former congressman and NAACP chief Kweisi Mfume and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin," with Lichtman falling way behind. Finally, even if the primary does become a battle between Lichtman and Cardin, Cardin boasts an impressive $2.2 million cash on hand and promises more where that came from, making Lichtman's totals look like lunch money.

Even still, there's no denying there are some happy people in the Lichtman camp this afternoon. And some not-so-happy ones in Mfume's corner of the ring.

from [url=http://baltimorewritersproject.com/nicholas/blog/index.php?entry=entry060201-111738]The League: Reassembled[/url]

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