WASHINGTON -- Hoping to scare off further opposition to her re-election bid next year, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., has raised a $1 million campaign war chest, collecting more than half of it in the last six months.
The Baltimore Democrat collected $376,876 from individual contributions and $300,058 from political action committees (PACs) in a round of national and local fund-raisers between January and the end of June, according to a campaign finance report she will file with the Federal Election Commission next week.
Campaign records show that the first-term senator has $918,224 cash-on-hand and no debts. She said yesterday that she hopes to raise more than $3 million for her re-election fight.
"I hope it will be a significant deterrent" to opponents, Ms. Mikulski said in an interview.
Some 35 percent -- roughly $132,000 -- of the individual contributions raised by Ms. Mikulski came
from fund-raisers in Alabama, California, Ohio and New York.
A fund-raiser last month in Huntsville, Ala., location of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, pulled in thousands of dollars in contributions from the business community in that area. Ms. Mikulski chairs the subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee that oversees the space agency.
"I'm the only Democratic woman in the United States Senate. I have a national constituency," Ms. Mikulski said, explaining the out-of-state donations.
Locally, the senator's fund-raisers included one at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia in June with Don Henley, formerly of the rock group the Eagles. The Mikulski campaign sold tickets to Mr. Henley's concert and reception at $250 per couple.
Ms. Mikulski said she believed that the economy would be the No. 1 issue during her race next year. And the senator -- who supports the right to abortion -- also expects abortion to be a "hot issue" during the campaign because of the conservative slide of the U.S. Supreme Court and the November 1992 Maryland referendum that will ask voters to overturn an abortion law enacted by the legislature this year. The law is considered one of the most liberal in the country.
She doubts, however, that her vote opposing the use of U.S. troops to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait will have much of an effect on her re-election chances.
The election will not hinge "on a single vote," the senator said, adding that voters will decide which candidate has "been effective for the state of Maryland."
Two Republican candidates already have filed to run against Ms. Mikulski in 1992, Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford County state's attorney, and Stuart Hopkins, a Caroline County consultant on issues relating to disabled people.
Others who say they are considering the race include Alan L. Keyes, the 1988 GOP senatorial nominee who lost to Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., Maryland Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade, R-Anne Arundel, and Joshua I. Smith, head of a Montgomery County computer consulting company.
Representative Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md.-2nd, also has suggested she may run for the Senate seat if a congressional redistricting plan is drawn to her dissatisfaction.
Ms. Mikulski denied reports she is nervous about the prospects of running against Mrs. Bentley, who is widely viewed as the GOP's best hope of unseating her, and said she has not analyzed who would be her toughest opponent.
"I happen to have a great deal of personal affection and admiration for the congresswoman," she said, noting they were an "effective team" for the state.