Celebrity and out-of-state fund raising has become a key feature of several Maryland campaigns this election year, contributing to record-setting treasuries, according to reports filed with Federal Elections Commission Tuesday.
Former Washington Bullets basketball center Jeff Ruland, newly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, gave former teammate Tom McMillen a parting gift of $1000 to help with McMillen's bid to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Marjorie Holt in the Anne Arundel County-based 4th Congressional District.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, now an editor in New York, also opened her checkbook to send $1000 -- the limit for a contribution by an individual -- to help her niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Townsend, a Democrat, is attempting to unseat incumbent GOP Rep. Helen Bentley in the Baltimore County-based 2nd Congressional District.
Writer Norman Mailer contributed to Townsend as well, as did a handful of other members of the extended Kennedy family.
And an eclectic array of Democratic activists, movie stars and women professionals across the nation helped make Rep. Barbara A. Mikulski the top fund-raiser in the state in the three-month period ending June 30, according to campaign reports.
Fund raising, from political action committees and corporations as well as celebrities, has become a source of controversy this election year, the most crowded and chaotic in recent Maryland history, Less than two moths before the primary, the Senate candidates have raised more than candidates did in the entire 1982 Senate race.
Mikulski, a former Baltimore social worker facing Rep. Michael D. Barnes and Gov. Harry Hughes in the Sept. 9 primary to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Charles McC. Mathias, has been among the most successful and most criticized. She has parlayed her charismatic personality, along with strong ties to the women's movement and national democratic party, into a fund-raising network that has delevered $868,583 to her campaign since it began last fall.
In the last three months she raised $371,559, some of it in elegant fund-raisers in New York and California that brought in checks from actress Joanne Woodward, singer Barbra Streisand, musician Don Henley and producer Norman Lear. All of them gave Mikulski the maximum $1000 contribution.
While some opponents have criticized Mikulski's out-of-state fund raising -- notably an opponent who has since dropped out -- her spokesman James Abbott said simply that more than 50 percent of Mikulski's contributors are from Maryland. "It reflects that people do see her as a leader both for Maryland and the country."
Evidently Barnes is viewed that way as well: He drew nearly $20,000 in campaign contributions from a group of Puerto Rican executives, thanks to the assistance of his House colleague Rep. Robert Garcia (D-N.Y.) and the governor of Puerto Rico.
Barnes, who has made a national reputation for his foreign policy expertise, drew contributions from that world as well, including from former secretary of state Cyrus Vance and former SALT negotiator Paul Warnke.
A former Montgomery County tax lawyer who has enjoyed strong popularity in his district for years, Barnes was not forgotten at home either. Candidates for the House of Delegates and County Council dipped into their comparatively modest campaign treasuries to make Barnes the state's second biggest fund raiser.
He collected $315,307 in the recent three-month period, bringing his receipts to date to $841,469. The figures show that the race, in which Barnes has consistently trailed Mikulski badly in the polls, "is not a runaway," according to his spokesman Bill Bronrott.
Spokesmen for Hughes, who has remained behind in the polls and in fund raising, took comfort in the fact that they were able to raise enough money to pay for a television campaign in May and early June. Nevertheless, Hughes himself was forced to contribute: $83,000 of the $236,317 he raised in the recent quarter came from his pocket. And his total receipt $417,329, were less than half what his opponents were able to raise.
But he was not the only Senate candidate to dip into his own wages. republican Richard P. Sullivan former Baltimore businessman matched the $100,000 he ea gave his campaign with another $100,000 in the recent reported period. Along with contributions from business associates, his receipts to date are $390,014.
Although Sullivan's chief former White House aide L. Chavez, raised less -- $161,090 the recent quarter, for a total $269,920 -- her spokesman campaign manager Tom O pointed to recent polls shows Chavez a few percentage points ahead of Sullivan.