WASHINGTON – Candidates for the 1st District say they plan to nearly drain their treasure chests to pay for a series of television and radio commercials that will run on Baltimore and Salisbury stations.
And with less than two weeks remaining until election day, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest has more than twice as much cash to drain as Democratic challenger Steven Eastaugh – $62,403 to Eastaugh’s $28,905, according to reports filed this week.
Al Cohen, Eastaugh’s communications director, said their intention “is to spend what we need to. And at this point, we’re planning to spend just about all of it.”
But Eastaugh has already spent considerably more than Gilchrest. The challenger has spent $193,347 this year – more than twice the $87,313 Gilchrest has spent, Federal Election Commission data shows.
Of that total, Eastaugh has spent $104,000 on radio and television air time, FEC data through Oct. 16 shows. That figure will climb to an estimated $157,000 in the final days before the election, said Stephan Fogleman, Eastaugh’s campaign manager.
Gilchrest has not yet paid for his radio and television air time, his staffers said.
The content of the candidates’ ads will differ dramatically, said Tony Caligiuri, Gilchrest’s staff director.
“Unlike our opponent, we will be running positive, issue- oriented ads,” Caligiuri said. “Basically … in the last few days we’ll be running an aggressive, get-out-the-vote campaign.”
Both of Eastaugh’s television ads now running attack Gilchrest.
The first criticizes Gilchrest for accepting a salary during the two partial-government shutdowns in November and December of 1995.
The second features a clip from “The Wizard of Oz” and portrays the congressman as the man behind the curtain, attempting to hide his voting record.
Fogleman said a third commercial should be ready any day now and a fourth might be in the works.
With these ads topping his list of expenditures, Eastaugh paid out about $59,000 more than he brought in during the most recent 15-day reporting period, FEC documents from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16 show.
He raised $3,730 from individual contributors, bringing his year-to-date total to $28,437.
But the brunt of Eastaugh’s stash continues to flow from his own pocket.
During the most recent 15-day period, he loaned his campaign another $40,000, bringing his year-to-date total to more than $96,000 – or 61 percent of his campaign funds.
He also gave his campaign $2,000 this year.
Eastaugh also has received $7,755 in services – mostly use of audio and video production facilities – from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year, FEC documents show.
Tricia Primrose, a spokeswoman with the DCCC, called him a “terrific candidate.” She said, “That seat tends to lean a little Republican, but we have an opportunity to spotlight Mr. Gilchrest’s voting record across a year and a half when he voted in step with Newt Gingrich.”
Gilchrest has relied solely on contributions from residents and clubs of his district and political parties. He does not accept funds from special-interest groups, called political action committees, and did not loan or give his campaign any money.
In the latest FEC reporting period, Gilchrest again raised more money from individual contributors than Eastaugh.
The congressman reported $26,747 from individuals, bringing his year-to-date total to $123,651. All of Gilchrest’s contributors live in his district – a practice he said protects the integrity of the political process.
Eastaugh’s contributions have come from Washington and its suburbs, in addition to towns in his district.
But he said there’s a difference between his individual contributors and Gilchrest’s supporters.
“Go add up all the checks from hotels and companies that he gets,” Eastaugh said. “Most of mine are $10 and $25 checks from watermen.
“So I have 6,000 donations when Mr. Gilchrest has 400.”
FEC data, however, shows that 66 of the 185 individual contributions to Gilchrest’s campaign since July 1 have come in as $50 or less. And none of those came from companies or hotels. Thirteen of 28 individual contributions to Eastaugh’s campaign since July 1 have amounted to $50 or less, FEC data shows. -30-