A group of Maryland doctors is pledging to raise more than $1 million to help fellow physicians and other doctor-friendly candidates get elected to the General Assembly next year.

Mark Seigel, a past president of the Maryland State Medical Society, said a mailing went out last week to more than 10,000 physicians asking them to contribute to the fledgling effort, which will aid Democrats and Republicans alike.

Only two doctors are in the legislature: Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) and Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County).

Seigel, a Montgomery County obstetrician- gynecologist, said it can be difficult for doctors, particularly those in small practices, to break away from their work for the three-month legislative session in Annapolis. But, he argued, electing more doctors to the legislature could produce far better heath care policy.

"No one knows health care as well as we do," Seigel said.

The push, he said, was first motivated by the state's debate over medical malpractice insurance but is now far broader than that. The new mailing is titled "Stop the Bleeding. Elect a Doc."

Besides helping doctors win election, Siegel said, the money may be used to target key districts to seek to elect someone friendlier to the profession's interests.

O'Malley Targets High-Dollar Donors

Aides to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) plan to raise $500,000 -- and perhaps significantly more -- for his expected gubernatorial bid at a fundraiser in Baltimore tomorrow night.

The event is O'Malley's second major fundraiser since he announced that he is "laying the groundwork" for a 2006 bid -- and the first that targets high-dollar donors. Admission ranges from $500 to $4,000, depending upon how much access a donor wants.

The centerpiece of the general reception, to be held in a lounge at M&T Bank Stadium, will be remarks by O'Malley about his vision for the state's future, organizers say.

O'Malley previously held a small-donor reception at Rams Head Live in Baltimore that reportedly drew about 3,000 people.

A Whole Lot of Raising Going On

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined about 1,500 Democratic supporters last week in Prince George's County for what she called an effort to "raise money for Al Wynn and raise hell with Barack Obama."

Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), who took himself out of contention for a 2006 bid for U.S. Senate, said he was pleased to get Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for the event.

The breakfast fundraiser, held at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt, should bring in about $200,000, Wynn said.

Wynn said Obama, the only African American in the Senate, is a model of success for the Democratic Party.

"He is not the rah, rah, rah, run-me model," Wynn said. "But he is a mature, thoughtful and proactive model."

Obama told the gathering that the "country as a whole is adrift."

"There's a sense of anxiety, a sense of foreboding, even among folks that are doing well," he said. "People are not sure if their pension is going to be there when they retire, taking care of an elderly parent while sending a child off to college."

But at the same time, Obama said, the Democrats can't just attack President Bush.

"We've got some work to do," he said. "We have to be honest that we haven't presented an agenda. . . . We've got to come up with a foreign policy that is tough and smart. The other party has the monopoly on tough and dumb."