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Baltimore lawyer aims at Mikulski

June 22, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

Though many consider U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikuski, D-Md., a formidable incumbent in her bid this year for a third term, she doesn't lack for those trying to knock her out of office, with seven Republicans vying for the seat

One of those is Baltimore attorney George W. Liebmann, who visited Hagerstown and Smithsburg last Thursday as part of a campaign swing through parts of Western Maryland, promoting a message of less government, improving education and a general frustration with the status quo.

"I'm exasperated, really, with the whole state of politics," Liebmann said during an interview.

He said Maryland needs leadership more like that of moderate Republican Charles McC. Mathias, who often crossed party lines on various issues before leaving the Senate in 1986.

Mikulski, by contrast, is too partisan and often beholden to special interest groups, Liebmann said.

"She basically votes for the position taken by the teachers unions," he said.

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Mikulski campaign spokeswoman Ann R. Beser disagreed, saying, "I think you will not find a more independent voter in the Senate than Barbara Mikulski. She votes for what Maryland needs, period."

Liebmann said he doesn't view himself as an underdog, nor does he see Mikulski as unbeatable. He said she had the advantage in the past two elections of facing opponents who had recently moved to the state and whose campaigns had problems.

"I think it's going to be a very interesting race. I think it's going to be a test of what people really want," Liebmann said.

Liebmann is a New York native who has lived in Baltimore for 35 years. He is an attorney in private practice, and is general counsel to the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCo).

Liebmann has never run for office before, but he was an executive assistant to former Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes, a Democrat, and has been appointed to several government boards and commissions.

"I don't think I can be portrayed as someone who is ignorant or doesn't have experience," he said.

Members of the U.S. Senate make $136,700 a year.

The filing deadline is July 6. The primary election is Sept. 15. The general election is Nov. 3.

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