Former Vice President Dan Quayle came to Baltimore last night as part of a fund-raising effort to elect more Republicans to the Maryland General Assembly in 1998.
Mr. Quayle dined with about 300 GOP elected officials and activists who paid $150 a ticket to attend the event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The proceeds will go to the Maryland Republican Legislators' Committee, a political action committee that offers support to GOP candidates seeking to unseat Democrats in the legislature.
In an address to the group later, Mr. Quayle praised the state party's effort in the last election and urged it to keep up the fight in 1996 and beyond. "It's obvious to me that Maryland is moving in the Republican direction," he said.
He avoided talking about GOP presidential politics, but did take swipes at President Clinton. He spoke of a need for Americans to elect a president of "leadership, vision and character," one they could point to as a role model for their children.
The former vice president at one time thought seriously of running against Mr. Clinton next year or for governor of Indiana, but has ruled out both options. He has not endorsed any candidate in the GOP primary.
Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the unsuccessful GOP candidate for governor last year, said money from the PAC was key to the party's recent gains in the state legislature. The number of GOP members of the House of Delegates jumped from 25 to 41 in the 1994 election, and Senate Republicans increased from nine to 15.
"Maryland in the last two elections had the greatest Republican gains in the legislature of any state in the country, and this legislators' PAC has been very helpful in making that happen," she said.
"We've got a lot of good candidates and a lot of good opportunities to continue with," said Mrs. Sauerbrey, the former House minority leader.
The PAC, started in 1983 as the Maryland GOP Senate-House Committee, has played an increasingly bigger role in the state party's overall plan to elect Republicans to the legislature.
It began as a source of re-election money for incumbents, at a time when the Republican Party could claim few legislators as its own. But in the 1990 and 1994 elections, the PAC raised and distributed nearly $100,000 each time, mostly to first-time candidates.