- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2008

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — The hotly fought Republican primary for Maryland’s 1st Congressional District could be one of the most expensive in the country, campaign officials say.

With more than $1.5 million raised in the past four months, campaign officials said, the total could exceed $4 million by the Feb. 12 primary.

The money has gone into costly and nasty TV, radio and print advertising campaigns that have blanketed much of the state, although the district encompasses only the Eastern Shore and parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil and Harford counties.

The state also has been flooded with advertising from outside advocacy groups.

Nine-term Republican incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest is being challenged in the primary by two state senators, Andrew P. Harris, a Navy reservist and anesthesiologist; and E.J. Pipkin, a retired investment banker.

Mr. Harris’ campaign reported raising $562,000 from October until Jan. 23, the most recent reporting period, and nearly $1.1 million in total. He has about $361,000 on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Gilchrest raised more than $392,000 in the period, with a total of almost $575,000 in this cycle and a remaining campaign war chest of $424,000 as of Jan. 23.

Mr. Pipkin has raised the least of the three major Republican candidates, $52,000, but he has spent about $550,000 of his own money, according to finance reports.

Among the four Democrats competing in the Feb. 12 primary, Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Frank M. Kratovil Jr. has raised more than double the campaign funds of his nearest opponent, Cambridge lawyer Christopher R. Robinson. According to the most recently available campaign-finance filings in September, Mr. Kratovil had raised more than $240,000 in this election cycle, compared with about $86,000 for Mr. Robinson.

Remaining contenders Steve Harper, a former Foreign Service officer, and Joseph M. Werner, a bankruptcy lawyer, had not reported raising any funds for the race, federal election records show.

Meanwhile, advocacy groups such as the conservative Club for Growth, have announced $430,000 in ad buys this week alone, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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