WASHINGTON – A Democratic challenger for the 1st District seat in Congress has more than twice as much campaign money in the bank as the incumbent, Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, recent campaign reports show.
Steven Eastaugh, 43, a George Washington University professor, reported having about $53,000 in the bank at the end of last year, roughly the same amount as he raised, Federal Election Commission records show.
The Berlin resident reported spending only $100.
Gilchrest, 49, of Kennedyville, had about $24,000 in the bank at the end of last year, after expenses, FEC records show.
He had raised about $110,000.
The congressman was unperturbed about Eastaugh’s cash total.
“How often do you think about how often they pave the roads in Afghanistan?” Gilchrest asked. “I don’t think about money and how much money my opponent has.
“We figure if we do our job and we communicate with the people to the extent we can, they’ll make their judgment come election day,” he said.
Six other Democrats and six other Republicans have filed candidacy papers with the state board of elections, but none had raised or spent $5,000 by Dec. 31. That’s the threshold requirement for filing financial reports with the FEC.
Among the Democratic challengers is Ralph Gies, 71, of Gambrills, who won his party’s nomination in 1994.
“I’m very low budget with this primary,” said Gies, an accountant. “And I’m not planning to spend any money to speak of.”
Eastaugh, who lost to Gies in 1994 in the Democratic primary, said he raises money through house parties.
“It’s sort of like an Italian wedding with a Christmas tree. People come and bring cards to hang on the tree. The cards are actually sealed envelopes with pledges or small individual contributions,” the public health and economics professor said.
Yet Eastaugh raised only $10,235 in individual contributions last year.
He raised $8,800 from special interests, or political action committees.
He loaned his campaign $34,457, his report shows.
“If he’s raised only $10,000 in individual contributions that shows that he does not have that much support in the district,” said Tony Caligiuri, Gilchrest’s administrative assistant.
Gilchrest said he accepts no PAC money or individual contributions from outside his 1st District.
He did list $500 from political parties.
Caliguiri said Gilchrest hosts one bull roast, one crab feast and a few breakfasts and dinners annually.
Other Democrats who have filed with the state board of elections for the 1st District seat include: James Brown, 47, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program supervisor from Denton; Nancy Centofante, 41, a Chestertown physician; Janice Lynn Graham, 59, a Galena bed and breakfast inn owner; Michael Maloney, of Cambridge; and John Rea, 35, an Annapolis salesman.
Other Republicans who have filed with the state elections board include: Thomas Anderson, a Berlin electrician; Robert Gawthrop, of Baltimore; James Timothy King, 40, a Pocomoke City poultry farmer; Bradlyn McClanahan, of Annapolis; James Plack, 46, of McDaniel, a manager at Higgins & Spencer Inc.; and Scott Meredith, 35, an electronics technician from Barclay.
Plack filed a report with the FEC showing he had about $1,020 in the bank.
Meredith said he has dropped out of the race. -30-