Conservative Fund-Raiser Uses Commercials to Seek Votes for More Contra-Aid

Carl Russell Channell, president of a conservative public-interest lobbying group called Sentinel, is spending $200,000 on an eight-day television campaign to persuade 11 House Democrats, including Michael D. Barnes (Md.), that "the problem of communism in Central America is not going to go away. Making peace does not work." He wants the 11 to vote for military aid for the contras this week.

The ads, created by the Robert Goodman agency, tell of the threat of communism in Central America and encourage viewers to "wake up" their representatives. They began Tuesday.

Channell is also president of the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, an educational foundation that, he says, has raised $7 million this year. And he is president of the American Conservative Trust, a political action committee that plans to give $1 million this fall to conservative challenger candidates.

Channell plans a lobbying effort on behalf of the Strategic Defense Initiative that will "more than equal the effort for the contra freedom fighters this year, which was $3.3 million." Down the road, he says, "I am working on lists from the Forbes 400 to Palm Beach Life to find my people who will give $50 million" to fund projects in 1987.

By the way, Channell says he raised the $200,000 for the contra ads in three days by calling "13 or 15" of his people. Having It Both Ways

Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. John Heinz (Pa.) said in May: "If elections were held today, we would retain control of the Senate. We might even pick up a seat." He said in June: "Absent a major economic downturn, there is virtually no chance that the Democrats can gain control."

But also in June, Heinz wrote to "the faithful few who have stuck with our party through thick and thin," telling them that "it frightens me to think that an attitude of indifference on the part of a number of our friends may end up costing us Republican control of the Senate . . . . "

"I think you should know that as of today our latest polling figures reveal the grim fact that we're running behind in six Senate races."

"We haven't actually lost these six seats yet, but we're dangerously close. And lack of money will push these candidates over the edge!" With a Little Help From My Friends

Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), running for reelection, is king of Democratic Senate fund-raisers. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. George J. Mitchell (Maine) said in January that "Alan's doing a great job raising money on his own. The way things are going, we don't think we'll have to provide any campaign funding for him."

Six months later, Cranston is still bringing in the money. He has raised $6 million. At a fund-raiser at the home of Averill and Pamela Harriman Wednesday night, 115 people contributed $225,000 to his reelection drive -- a Harriman fund-raising record.

But Cranston is in the toughest race of his career against Rep. Edwin V.W. Zschau (R), and he expects to spend $12 million. Last week he asked the campaign committee for $300,000, and he got it. Hart Plans 1988

Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) has turned to a long-time friend and the manager of his 1974 and 1980 Senate campaigns and an adviser in his 1984 presidential campaign for a helping hand with his 1988 presidential exploratory plans. Hal Haddon, a Denver lawyer, said Friday, "I have agreed to work on the exploratory effort on some level. The details need to be worked out. Exactly what I will do and the amount of time I'll spend is still unspecified." He added that "the goal is very specific." New Christian PAC

The Christians of the political middle have officially arrived on the scene. Justlife -- justice and life -- a political action committee, has been formed to "focus on the issues of arms control, poverty and abortion," said spokesman Jack Smalligan.

"Organizations of the Christian right often focus on the life of the unborn and ignore many other problems that also threaten life, such as poverty and militarism. Organizations of the Christian left make the opposite mistake: They ignore the unborn," said Pastor William Leslie, Justlife president.

"We take a consistent prolife position. We favor controls on the arms race, programs to empower the poor to be self-sufficient and abolishing abortion on demand," Smalligan added.

The PAC will endorse some candidates this year, but seeks to have a more "decisive influence in 1988," Smalligan said. 'I Love N.Y.'

New Jersey Gov. Thomas H. Kean (R), who launched a $3 million tourism campaign with the theme "New Jersey and you, perfect together," and who appeared in radio and television ads to extol the beauty of New Jersey's beaches and mountains, bought a $1 million, 10-acre estate on New York's exclusive Fishers Island, 22 miles off Long Island.

But eyebrows should not be raised. "The Kean family has always had a vacation home on Long Island. This is nothing new. The governor simply sold one piece of property and bought another one," an aide said.