WASHINGTON -- In politics, everybody loves a winner, as U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland is learning.
Gilchrest, R-1st, has collected more than $9,000 in contributions since defeating incumbent Democrat Roy P. Dyson on Nov. 6. Dyson, once a contributors' favorite, received just $1,805, according to his latest federal finance report.
It's not surprising that people and PACs -- political action committees, set up by special interest groups -- contribute right after an election.
PACs hope to influence politicians, who in turn like to build up campaign war chests well ahead of the next election, the better to discourage opponents.
Gilchrest sought PAC contributions during his campaign against Dyson but said that once in Congress he'd fight to limit PACs' influence.
Since Nov. 27, he has accepted $4,000 from the National Association of Life Underwriters, an insurance industry PAC; $1,000 from a marine engineers' union PAC; $500 from the Tobacco Institute; and $300 from the Signet Bank PAC in Baltimore.
Prominent individuals also have sent Gilchrest checks. Frank Perdue, president of the Eastern Shore chicken company, sent $1,000 in December, as did his wife, Mitzi. Joseph A. DeFrancis, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, gave $200.
These and other contributions are listed in a report Gilchrest filed with the Federal Election Commission for the period Nov. 27 through Dec. 31. Deducting expenditures, Gilchrest began the new year with a meager $2,857 in cash on hand.
In spite of that, Gilchrest says, he isn't soliciting funds at present.
"I'd like to reduce the role of PACs in political campaigns," he said, indicating an interest in supporting reform legislation. Meanwhile, Gilchrest said, he doesn't rule out accepting PAC funds in 1991.
An aide to Gilchrest, Tony Caligiuri, said the money received in December was unsolicited and earmarked for 1990 expenses, not for the next campaign in 1992.
During the same post-election period, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-5th, took in $7,740 and finished the year with $321,405 in the bank. That's more than any other Marylander has on hand except Rep. Tom McMillen, D-4th, who collected $7,675 after the election and has $328,285.
McMillen has the largest campaign balance even after paying out $55,886 following the election. His expenses included $15,000 in campaign consulting fees to his top congressional aide, Gerald Grant.
Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd, received just $80 from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, but has a hefty $250,725 to apply to his next campaign. Rep. Beverly Byron, D-6th, received $1,050 and reports $33,738 in available cash.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO, gave Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, $2,500 on Dec. 12. With that, Mfume has $84,388 with which to fight any future opponent.
Rep. Constance Morella, R-8th, reports having $201,385 in cash, including $2,200 she has received since Nov. 27.