ANNAPOLIS -- After vehemently defending his right to take a salary of $8,500 a month from campaign contributions, U.S. Senate candidate Alan L. Keyes now says he is reconsidering.
Despite what he called "the palpable injustice involved," Mr. Keyes said he might forgo the salary, which has become grist for Maryland talk shows and political critics.
But Mr. Keyes said he is in the race to stay, whatever the criticism or cost.
"I will campaign against [incumbent Democratic Sen.] Barbara Mikulski on foot in the streets and sleep in homeless shelters if I have to, but I will not give up," he said.
Mr. Keyes has said he needs a salary to support his family while campaigning. Challengers must be accorded some means of contesting incumbents, he contends, and using campaign funds is justifiable.
The Maryland Republican Party's executive director, Joyce L. Terhes, has disavowed the practice of using campaign funds for an $8,500-a-month salary.
Mr. Keyes' monthly housing expenses, including maintenance, actually approach $5,000, said Sean Paige, Mr. Keyes' campaign spokesman. He said people should remember that the candidate bought his house in Montgomery County while working in the private sector and making a large salary.
In 1991 and the first two months of 1992, according to a financial disclosure statement filed with the secretary of the U.S. Senate, Mr. Keyes reported that he was paid $187,500 as president of Citizens Against Government Waste. He also earned $97,650 for speeches and articles he wrote. He owned stock valued at between $1,000 and $15,000.