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Md. business PAC attracts GOP lawmakers

There were about 100 people on-hand for the first fundraiser to refuel the Business Leadership PAC, the political action committee affiliated with Maryland Business for Responsive Government and if the attendees were any indication, Republicans in Annapolis can expect to see a larger fundraising boost than Democrats.

MBRG is quick to tout its bipartisan mission — it is chaired by former Gov. Marvin Mandel, a Democrat, and Republican Ellen Sauerbrey, a former House minority leader  — but certainly has steered further to the right than the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber PAC, in the last election cycle, actually gave to more Democrats than Republicans.

John Fund, the Wall Street Journal columnist and Fox News contributor, began his keynote speech with two questions: Who reads the Journal? And who watches Fox News?Nearly every hand in the room went up in response to both.

One-fifth of the crowd was state lawmakers. And they were all Republicans.

The delegates included Kathryn L. Afzali, Frederick; Gail H. Bates, Howard; Joseph C. Boteler III, Baltimore County; Don Dwyer, Anne Arundel; Bill Frank, Baltimore County; Ron George, Anne Arundel; Michael J. Hough, Frederick and Washington; Susan K. McComas, Harford; Neil Parrott, Washington; Justin Ready, Carroll; Kelly Schulz, Frederick; Nancy Stocksdale, Carroll; and Kathy Szeliga, Baltimore and Harford.

And the Senators: David R. Brinkley, Carroll and Frederick; Nancy Jacobs, Cecil and Harford; J.B. Jennings, Baltimore and Harford;  Allan H. Kittleman, Carroll and Howard; Edward R. Reilly, Anne Arundel; and Christopher B. Shank, Washington.

The PAC has an ambitious goal to raise $250,000 for the 2014 elections, more than 10 times what the now-dormant chamber PAC spent in 2010.

According to the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland, the 404 House of Delegates candidates in 2010 raised $19.4 million, for an average of about $48,000 each. The 114 Senate candidates raised $13.8 million, an average of $121,000.

That makes the $6,000 transfers that PACs are allowed a big chunk of cash for these candidates — about 12.5 percent of the average delegate’s campaign account, and 5 percent of a would-be senator’s.

Of course, winning delegates outspent losers by $82,000 and winning senators outspent their foes by an average of $157,000, so a PAC transfer won’t always make the difference.