McMillen outspending Gilchrest in 1st District

October 20, 1992|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

EASTON -- Voters searching for big differences between 1st District congressional candidates Wayne T. Gilchrest and Tom McMillen need look only as far as their election finance reports.

Representative McMillen, a Democrat, has spent more on his campaign in the last three months than Republican Representative Gilchrest has raised in the past year. And while it's clear that Mr. McMillen has the edge when it comes to raising money, the Gilchrest campaign is attempting to turn many of the Democrat's benefactors -- political action committees and other out-of-state contributors -- into an election liability.

Federal Election Commission reports show that Mr. McMillen has raised close to $591,000 for next month's general election. He spent $254,400 of that between July 1 and Sept. 30.

In contrast, Mr. Gilchrest raised less money than that -- $212,500 -- in the last 12 months. Mr. Gilchrest spent half of his funds during the July to September reporting period, mostly on ads and fund-raisers, FEC records show.

The two men are engaged in a pitched battle in the state's redrawn 1st District, which encompasses the Eastern Shore, a large part of Anne Arundel County and a sliver of Baltimore City. The 1st District race is Maryland's only congressional contest in which two incumbents are vying for a single seat.

Noting that Mr. McMillen accepted more than $348,000 from PACs, most of them from outside Maryland, Mr. Gilchrest charged that his challenger has failed to gain financial backing within the district.

"My opponent is not getting his support from the district," he said. "He is almost exclusively funded by outsiders."

Mr. Gilchrest has accepted about $36,000 in PAC contributions, with $14,000 coming in during the last three months. The rest of his treasury has come mostly from individual contributors living within the state.

McMillen campaign aides said the Democrat, who was first elected from the state's 4th District in 1986, has been building a large campaign chest in anticipation of a late surge of help from national GOP groups for Mr. Gilchrest.

"Wayne Gilchrest has a rather methodical and Republican way of raising money," said Brad Fitch, the McMillen campaign chief. "He'll hold one hand out in righteous indignation saying we shouldn't accept PAC money, and he'll put the other hand out to accept contributions toward the end of the campaign."

Mr. Fitch said Mr. Gilchrest received $130,000 in GOP funds during the last 13 days of the 1990 campaign, a last-minute boost he expects the Republican candidate to receive again this year.

"This race will even up financially before the end," Mr. Fitch predicted.

"That's the most pitiful rationale for taking PAC money I have ever heard from any campaign," replied Gilchrest campaign manager Tony Caligiuri, who said he anticipates Mr. Gilchrest will raise less than $300,000 for the entire campaign.

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