Originally created 02/07/98

Hollings leads GOP rivals in raising funds



WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings cranked up his drive for campaign money during the last half of 1997, outpacing his nearest Republican challenger in individual contributions by nearly 9-to-1.

But a spokesman for the campaign of U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., said the three-term congressman expects his fund-raising efforts to take off now that former GOP Gov. Carroll Campbell has decided to stay out of the race.

Mr. Hollings, D-S.C., took in $767,826 from individual donors between July 1 and Dec. 31, according to a report submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

The six-term veteran also received $273,230 from political action committees and $17,500 from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, giving him a total of $1.1 million for the six-month reporting period.

Mr. Inglis' fund-raising fell off dramatically during the last half of 1997.

He received only $86,218 in individual donations during those six months, according to his report, after raising more than $488,000 from individual contributors during the first half of the year.

Mr. Inglis received another $516,279 during the last half of 1997, primarily by transferring money from his old House campaign account. He does not accept PAC contributions.

As of late Thursday, the FEC had not received the report filed by Mr. Inglis' opponent for the Republican nomination, former Greenville County GOP Chairman Stephen Brown.

Mr. Brown, who entered the race last fall, said he had about $27,000 in his campaign account as of Dec. 31.

For Mr. Hollings, 1997 represented a reversal of the early stages of his 1998 campaign fund-raising.

While about 70 percent of the contributions he received during the last half of 1997 came from individuals, it was PAC contributions that dominated his efforts during the last half of 1996, exceeding individual donations by more than 2-to-1.

"The amount that has been contributed to his election shows his broad popularity," said Maury Lane, a spokesman for Mr. Hollings. "Going into such a tough election, that certainly is pleasing."

Inglis campaign manager Dennis Dice said the challenger's fund-raising momentum began to shift last month, after the latest reporting deadline, when Mr. Campbell announced he would not challenge Mr. Hollings this year.

"The response (Mr. Inglis) has been getting in just the past couple of weeks has been encouraging," Mr. Dice said.

Mr. Brown noted that he launched his campaign much later than either Mr. Hollings or Mr. Inglis. Despite his late start, Mr. Brown is optimistic that he can raise $1.5 million, enough to wage an effective campaign in a small state like South Carolina.

Mr. Hollings' PAC contributions during the reporting period came from an array of donors, including unions, telecommunications companies, tobacco companies and cruise lines.

The senator is the senior Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the telecommunications industry.

He also is sponsoring bills that would compensate farmers for the impacts of the proposed tobacco settlement, and allow foreign-flagged cruise ships to carry passengers between points in the United States.

Mr. Hollings outspent Mr. Inglis during the last half of last year $266,418 to $179,030, according to the reports. The incumbent entered this year with about $1.7 million in his campaign treasury, compared to about $715,000 for Mr. Inglis.