ANNAPOLIS -- Barbara A. Mikulski would like you to return her to the Senate for a second term.
Twenty other Democrats and Republicans would like you to return her to her Fells Point neighborhood and send them to the Senate instead.
Last night was the deadline to file for next year's congressional elections. And when the clock struck 9 p.m., Ms. Mikulski and all but one of her eight House colleagues -- Representative Constance A. Morella, R-Md.-8th -- found themselves facing opposition in the primary contest and the general election.
One of the hottest races will be in the new Eastern Shore-Anne Arundel County 1st District, where Representatives Tom McMillen, D-Md.-4th, and Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-Md.-1st, have been cast into the same district by the state legislature.
Mr. McMillen of Anne Arundel is facing five other Democrats -- including two state delegates, John C. Astle of Annapolis and Samuel Q. Johnson III of Tyaskin, west of Salisbury -- for a shot at the general election next November.
There has been speculation that some of the Democrats may bow out to offer Mr. McMillen a better shot at the nomination. Candidates can withdraw until Jan. 2 at 5 p.m.
Mr. Gilchrest, a freshman Republican from the Eastern Shore, is being challenged by four other Republicans, including Robert P. Duckworth.
Mr. Duckworth, who ran against Mr. McMillen last year and collected 41 percent of the vote, hinted he would run instead against Representative Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md-5th.
Mr. Hoyer, the fourth-ranking Democrat in Congress whose new district encompasses portions of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties along with Southern Maryland, is facing three GOP challengers, including Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., an Upper Marlboro real estate broker whose father is a former congressman and county executive from Prince George's County.
One of the most contested races will be in the 4th District, the majority-black district carved out of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, where there is no sitting congressman.
Twelve Democrats and eight Republicans are entered in the state's March 3 primary.
The list of Democratic candidates include several with county-wide name recognition: Councilwoman Hilda R. Pemberton, State's Attorney Alexander Williams Jr.; Sen. Albert R. Wynn; former county commissioner Francis J. Aluisi, father of the county's current sheriff; and former state Sen. Tommie L. Broadwater, who lost his seat in the legislature with a food stamp fraud conviction.
Among the last-minute candidates for the Democratic nomination was Delegate Dana Lee Dembrow of Silver Spring. Mr. Dembrow, 38, called the open seat a "big opportunity," expecting it would take little money or votes to emerge victorious.
Mr. Dembrow, who is white, will likely attract some opposition from the largely black field of candidates, some of whom have complained that a white candidate could easily exploit a split in ,, the black vote.
Mr. Dembrow brushed aside such talk.
"It's a minority district in that we created it to make sure a majority of constituents are minority," he said, "but it is not to discriminate against a candidate or voters."
In the 6th District, seven-term Representative Beverly B. Byron also is facing opposition from Annapolis in the Democratic Party -- Delegate Thomas H. Hattery of Mt. Airy. Mr. Hattery lost to Mrs. Byron in the 1980 Democratic Primary, three years before he began his service at the State House.
Ms. Mikulski is being challenged by five Democrats and 13 Republicans, including Alan L. Keyes, the 1988 GOP nominee against Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., and Martha S. Klima of Lutherville, a state delegate and advocate for business interests.
The filing fee for Senate candidates was $290. House hopefuls paid $100.
Among yesterday's deadline-day filers was Kenneth Kondner, a 50-year-old Baltimore dental technician and Republican who said objected to the idea that Representative Kweisi Mfume, D-Md.-7th, was likely to run unopposed in the general election.
"I don't like his liberal views," Mr. Kondner said.
Another late entry was Roy L. Chambers, a 74-year-old retiree from Fort Washington running as a Republican in the new "minority" 4th District.
Mr. Chambers, dressed in a plaid jacket, plaid shirt and a navy blue baseball cap with the word "Captain" spelled out in gold, said he was interested in foreign trade issues, but said people in his Prince George's County district were mostly worried about drug trafficking and crime. He said the problem was as serious as "terrorism."
"I don't advocate shooting them," he said about drug dealers, "but something has to be done."