WASHINGTON -- Fearing ill effects from congressional redistricting, Rep. Tom McMillen of Maryland is asking supporters to contribute up to $1,000 today to his re-election fund.
"If I am forced to run in a district against another incumbent, in a district which may contain as much as 50 percent new territory, I will be facing a race with a budget easily in excess of $1 million," McMillen, D-4th, said in an invitation to a fund-raising breakfast.
The event was to take place just before the Maryland General Assembly convened today to begin drawing new congressional district boundaries.
McMillen's press secretary, Brad Fitch, said the congressman invited "Washington supporters" to the breakfast. But Lisa Renshaw, a Republican who wants to run against McMillen next year, said he was inviting lobbyists and representatives of political action committees, which represent corporations, unions and other interest groups.
Renshaw obtained a copy of the invitation McMillen sent out. Renshaw's spokesman, Pat Ryan, said that particular invitation had been sent to a PAC representative, whom he refused to identify.
McMillen suggests in the invitation, dated Sept. 3, that he might be forced to run in a district that includes incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-1st. Although the redistricting committee rejected such a proposal in August, last week the committee voted again and put McMillen in a district with a potentially more formidable foe, Rep. Helen D. Bentley, R-2nd.
Whatever district the legislature puts him in, McMillen wants to be sure he has enough campaign funds to wage a strong fight. By July 31st he had raised more than $400,000, not counting proceeds from a recent $25-a-head bull roast or the fund-raiser planned today.
Renshaw, in a news release, accused McMillen of placing a "for sale" sign around his neck by soliciting PAC contributions. Common Cause, the self-styled good government citizens group, reported earlier this year that McMillen had received $1.1 million in PAC contributions since his initial election in 1986.
That was more than any other Maryland member of Congress had raised from PACs -- but not by much. Bentley, who could be McMillen's opponent next year, pulled in nearly the same amount, dating to her election in 1984.