Out-of-state money flooding to McMillen

October 23, 1992|By William Thompson | William Thompson,Staff Writer

In a tough battle to remain in Congress, Democrat Tom McMillen is relying heavily on money from special interest groups and out-of-state contributors to finance his campaign to represent Maryland's new 1st District. Federal Election Commission reports show that of the $198,500 raised by Mr. McMillen between July 1 and Sept. 30, more than $150,000 -- or 76 percent -- came from individuals who live outside Maryland or from special interest groups.

The flood of money helped Mr. McMillen accumulate a total of $591,000 in campaign funds, more than three times the amount collected by his Republican opponent, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest.

Of the $110,000 raised by Mr. Gilchrest during the July-to-September reporting period, slightly more than $28,000 came from groups or non-state residents. The figure includes about $13,000 from various GOP organizations, according to analysis of FEC reports by The Sun.

The Gilchrest campaign has seized upon the latest reports to charge that Mr. McMillen's political base falls outside the district and doesn't represent the interests of local constituents.

Mr. Gilchrest is hammering on this in a new television ad charging that Mr. McMillen received 81 percent of his money from contributors and groups outside the new 1st District.

The ad is based on a study of the FEC reports by the Gilchrest campaign, which looked at contributions to Mr. McMillen over the past year, according to Gilchrest campaign manager Tony Caligiuri.

A McMillen spokesman said the campaign staff had not reviewed the reports in that light and could neither confirm nor dispute the claim made in the ad.

The two candidates are engaged in a pitched battle for the state's redrawn 1st District. It is one of a handful of races nationally in which two congressional incumbents are vying for the same seat.

Supporters of Mr. McMillen defended his contributions, saying he will need all the money he can raise to hold off what they predict will be a last-minute surge of GOP financial backing for Mr. Gilchrest.

Brad Fitch, Mr. McMillen's campaign manager, said individualsfrom out of state who are supporting the campaign include many people the congressman met when he was a professional basketball player in Atlanta and New York and others he knows from the early 1980s, when he helped raise money for the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Caligiuri countered that friends of Mr. McMillen who live outside the state should not meddle in Maryland politics. "If McMillen has a lot of friends, they should take him out to dinner," he said. "They shouldn't try to influence the 1st District congressional race."

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