Campaign finance is no contest McMillen leads Gilchrest, FEC reports show.

July 28, 1992|By Tom Bowman | Tom Bowman,Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tom McMillen, a Maryland Democrat pitched into a new congressional district with Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, has raised nearly six times as much money as his opponent, according to recent federal records.

The five-term Crofton Democrat collected $285,046 in contributions from individuals and special interests between April 1 and June 30, compared with $51,342 raised by Mr. Gilchrest, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

There is an even greater disparity in cash reserves. Mr. Gilchrest, a freshman lawmaker, has $20,207 in his campaign war chest and Mr. McMillen $430,935.

The latest report shows that Mr. McMillen is increasing his fund-raising edge from February and March, when he raised about four times the amount Mr. Gilchrest collected: $106,943 compared to $27,095.

The McMillen campaign expects to spend more than $600,000 on the race in the new 1st District -- forged last fall during congressional redistricting -- that stretches from Curtis Bay in Baltimore to Crisfield on the lowest reaches of the Eastern Shore, said Brad Fitch, a spokesman for Mr. McMillen. Advertising in two different media markets -- Baltimore and Salisbury -- drives up the expense of the campaign, Mr. Fitch said.

The bulk of the new district, about 343,000 residents out of 597,000, is located on the Shore. Mr. McMillen currently represents the 4th District, which includes Anne Arundel County and portions of Prince George's and Howard counties.

Mr. Gilchrest, a former Kent County high school teacher, is taking a more relaxed view toward fund raising, although nervous GOP officials are urging him to spend more time collecting checks.

"I think we can raise about $200,000," he said, "which is what we need to get the word out." Fund raising takes too much time, said Mr. Gilchrest. "I'd rather take time instead to do the [congressional] job the way I think it needs to be done rather than raising money or campaigning," he said.

Fund raising, however, is not always an indicator of success. Mr. Gilchrest handily defeated Democratic Rep. Roy Dyson two years ago, although Mr. Dyson outspent him nearly 3-1.

Meanwhile, other members of the Maryland House delegation easily outpaced their opponents.

Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd, raised $94,043 during the three months under review compared to $5,540 collected by Democratic challenger Michael Hickey Jr.

Baltimore Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd, raised $41,091 during the period, while his GOP opponent William Bricker raised only $771.

And Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a Democrat who currently represents Prince George's County, pulled in $225,205 during the period, while Larry Hogan Jr. raised $70,577. They are running in a new 5th District that includes Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties in southern Maryland and parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George's.

Mrs. Bentley, of Lutherville, the only Serbian-American in Congress and a critic of the Bush administration's hard line position in Yugoslavia, continues to receive support from that community, raising $5,815 among Serbian-Americans from Virginia to Michigan.

Much of the political action committee (PAC) donations received by the Maryland congressmen reflect their committee assignments.

Mr. Cardin, for example, who serves on the Health and Social Security subcommittees of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, picked up $1,000 from the American Hospital Association PAC and $2,000 from the American Chiropractic Association PAC.

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