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Mikulski Outdoes Rivals In Fund-Raising Battle

By Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 17, 1998; Page C06

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) has amassed a sizable war chest, with $1.6 million in campaign funds on hand, as she heads into a reelection contest against several little-known and underfinanced challengers.

Now seeking her third term in the Senate, the Baltimore native has spent $283,523 since April 1 -- far more than all her competitors put together have managed to raise.

Federal campaign finance reports filed this week reveal similar scenarios in congressional races throughout the Washington region. Most area incumbents, facing weak challenges, have so far spent relatively little of their formidable war chests.

In Virginia, Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D) has $722,461 in cash on hand, and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R), with no opponents, has a treasury of $647,256. In Maryland, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D), facing two little-known challengers, has $592,788, and Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) has $285,513, campaign reports show.

One notable exception is in Maryland's 8th District, where Montgomery County's popular six-term incumbent, Rep. Constance A. Morella (R), faces a challenger whom some Democrats see as their strongest in years, former civil-rights lobbyist Ralph G. Neas.

Filings with the Federal Election Commission show that Neas is coming close to matching Morella in raising money. Neas reported raising $225,477 in the first six months of the year, compared with $270,844 for Morella.

Neas has raised more than $460,000 since his campaign began. He has spent $105,131 since April, and he has $208,311 heading toward the Sept. 15 primary against six lesser-known Democrats.

Morella, who faces two other Republicans on the primary ballot, has $539,983 on hand, having spent only $45,929 since the spring.

Candidates were required to mail their quarterly finance reports to the FEC by Wednesday, and not all reports were available yesterday.

Financial information was not available for challengers in the two northern Virginia races that are considered competitive. A campaign aide for Moran's Republican challenger, psychologist Demaris H. Miller, said he could not give reporters a copy of her financial report.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R), seeking reelection in Virginia's 10th District, has $230,390 on hand. The campaign of his Democratic challenger, former Justice Department lawyer Cornell Williams Brooks, could not provide a copy of his report.

Since January, Mikulski has raised $962,595, even though none of the Republicans in the race are expected to mount a serious challenge. She has spent $527,029 since then.

An analysis of her contributions before the latest filing shows that almost one-third of her contributors were political action committees. From 1991 through 1996, most of her contributions came from outside Maryland, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which analyzes political contributions.

Although a strong pro-labor politician, Mikulski got more than three times as much in contributions from business-related sources than from labor. The biggest contributions came from the financial, health care, and defense industries and from lawyers and lobbyists, according to the center. Among the Republican challengers whose reports were available yesterday from the FEC, Baltimore lawyer George Liebmann has raised $16,340 and spent $5,899. Software developer Kenneth L. Wayman has spent $18,875 this year; his campaign is $19,000 in debt.

Staff writers Justin Blum and Doug Struck and editorial aide Jessica Medinger contributed to this report.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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