ANNAPOLIS -- For the first time in the memory of its members, a wide-angle lens would have come in handy when B. J. Bingham, a secretary, snapped a picture of the new House of Delegates' Republican Caucus.
Expanded by more than 50 percent over its current number, the new GOP caucus will have 25 members -- up by nine over the current 16. There are 141 delegates in all -- the majority of them still Democrats.
The Republicans, new and old, met last night in the minority meeting room in the Lowe House Office Building to elect officers. The new General Assembly will be seated Jan. 9 when the 1991 legislative session convenes.
Delegate Ellen R. Sauerbrey, R-Baltimore County, was re-elected to the position of minority leader by acclamation. Delegate Robert H. Kittleman, R-Howard, was also re-elected unanimously to the post of minority whip.
Delegate Sauerbrey then named Delegate John R. Gary, R-Anne Arundel, to serve as assistant minority whip -- a new position that is needed, she said, to take on work that will be generated by the enlarged GOP presence.
Delegate Sauerbrey reported that Maryland Republicans had gained more legislative seats than their counterparts in any other state. While many Democratic incumbents were defeated in Maryland, she added, all Republicans who sought re-election were successful.
"The opportunity we have to build on what we have accomplished is tremendously exciting," she said.
Each of the five major House committees will now have at least four GOP members and one will have five. On important committee votes, Republicans could be significantly more influential than they have been, the party's leadership anticipates.
A major contribution to the Republicans during the recent election, she said, came from the Senate-House Republican Committee, which raised $94,596 over the last four years and distributed that money to candidates in this year's election.
In the previous four years, she said, the party had raised only $20,000. Now, she said, the committee should be able to use the new strength to raise $200,000 or more during the next four years.
"With the kind of gains we made in Maryland," said Mr. Gary, "we ought to be able to get the president of the United States to come. He has to run for office himself in a few years." A visit by President Bush would put $100,000 in the kitty all by itself, he said.
Some of that money might be used, the party leaders suggested, to give Republicans their own "number cruncher" to prepare the ideal GOP version of Maryland's new legislative districts. District lines must be redrawn over the next two years to conform with the population as determined by the 1990 census. Mr. Gary said it is practically inevitable that the Republicans will sue to achieve changes in the redistricting plan passed by the Democrats.