Gilchrest, Dyson campaigns spent $892,000 Congressional contest was state's costliest

December 12, 1990|By John Fairhall | John Fairhall,Evening Sun Staff

WASHINGTON -- The hardest fought 1990 congressional race in Maryland, involving Rep. Roy P. Dyson and Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest, also was the costliest, new campaign finance reports show.

Dyson, D-1st, and Gilchrest combined spent $892,000 -- $641,000 by Dyson in a losing cause and $251,000 by the victor, according to the reports being filed this week with the Federal Election Commission.

Dyson spent far more than any other congressional candidate and wound up in debt, primarily to himself. He loaned his campaign $25,000.

Despite Dyson's overall fund-raising lead, Gilchrest proved a better fund-raiser in the closing weeks of the campaign when both candidates were desperately seeking funds for advertising. Gilchrest raised $131,000 after Oct. 17 while Dyson raised $102,000. The election was Nov. 6.

Although Gilchrest attacked Dyson for being beholden to special interests, political-action committees formed by special-interest groups gave Gilchrest $47,000 toward the end of the campaign. In all, Dyson received $323,000 from PACs in 1990 while Gilchrest took in $54,000.

Gilchrest received $5,000 from both the National Abortion Rights Action League and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Banks, oil company officials, dentists and McCormick & Co. of Hunt Valley also made large contributions.

Dyson received much of his PAC money from labor unions, and he received $1,000 from the anti-abortion National Right To Life PAC.

Gilchrest also received a major last-minute boost from Republican committees and officials, who contributed $37,000 after Oct. 17. The Republican National Congressional Committee made the race a priority after Gilchrest nearly beat Dyson in 1988.

Among individual contributors to both campaigns, Perdue Chicken Co. executives in Salisbury stood out -- seven gave a total of $3,500 to Gilchrest and four gave $2,500 to Dyson, including $1,000 from Perdue chief Frank Perdue.

Gilchrest spent heavily on advertising, especially radio and television commercials, his finance report shows.

Dyson's spending included a salary for his campaign manager, Chris Robinson, while Robinson was simultaneously drawing a federal salary of $69,500 a year as Dyson's top congressional aide, the Easton Star-Democrat reported yesterday.

The story said Robinson was paid both a congressional salary and a campaign salary in September. Earlier in the year, Robinson took an unpaid leave from his congressional duties to work on the campaign, the story said.

Robinson was quoted in the story as saying he worked every day of the week, 14 hours a day, to fulfill both sets of duties. He said the $6,515 check he received in September was for campaign work he did in July. But Dyson's latest campaign finance report shows that Robinson received another $10,000 on Nov. 17 as salary for two unspecified months of campaign work.

Gilchrest rewarded five campaign workers with bonuses averaging $2,000 each following the election.

Maryland's seven other incumbent House members won re-election easily, but several of them, nonetheless, raised large sums.

Rep. Helen D. Bentley, R-2nd, raised $451,000 in 1990, spent $401,000 and ended with $174,000 still in the bank, including funds left over from 1989. PACs gave her $140,000.

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd, finished the campaign with $262,000, which might discourage challengers in 1992. He raised $254,000 in 1990, including $200,000 from PACs.

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, took in the least of the eight House members, $140,000, including $92,000 from PACs. He has $94,000 left over.

The latest campaign report of Rep. Tom McMillen, D-4th, was not immediately available, but his spokesman said McMillen received about $714,000 since his last election in 1988 and spent about $340,000. He has $374,000 in the bank, more than any other Maryland House member.

Rep. Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, has $55,000 remaining from her campaign, in which she raised $194,000 this year and spent $198,000. PACs gave her $116,000.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-5th, collected $446,000 in 1990, including $255,000 from PACs, and has $334,000 left in the bank.

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