Murkowski enters long season of fund raising

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday that since moving to Washington five months ago, she hasn't had a spare minute in her new job as a U.S. senator.

Now, she will be expected to find the time to raise millions of dollars for her 2004 campaign if she aims to keep the seat bequeathed to her by her father when he became Alaska governor.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she will need $2 million for her campaign. She has $300,000 now and hopes to have $500,000 by the end of June, she said.

The freshman senator is getting some advice and support from two veteran Republican politicians, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, who sat shoulder-to-shoulder with her at a news conference in Anchorage.

Stevens said Murkowski will need between $3 million and $4 million for her campaign. To raise the money, she will have to appear at two to three fund-raisers a week right up until the election, Stevens said.

Stevens and Young will do what they can to help Murkowski stay in the Senate. said the state's senior senator.

''The two of us are absolutely committed to Sen. Murkowski,'' Stevens said, sitting to her left. Young was to her right.

Even with Young's and Stevens' endorsements, Murkowski may face a fight. Murkowski said she's not heard of any Republican opponents, but former Gov. Tony Knowles' name continues to come up as a possible Democratic opponent.

Knowles recently visited Washington, D.C., and met with political contacts in the Senate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pledged money to the Democratic candidate to make the race competitive.

Stevens said there are only five or six races nationwide for incumbents to be concerned about.

''We are concerned about this one,'' he said.

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