PORTLAND (AP) – Barbra Streisand, Mary Tyler Moore and Stephen King have a financial stake in Maine’s high-profile U.S. Senate race, as do a founding member of the Grateful Dead and a model-turned-actress who made it onto the big screen as a James Bond girl.

Contributors to the campaigns of Democrat Tom Allen and Republican incumbent Susan Collins also include a former president, a current presidential nominee, a singer-satirist who made his mark 50 years ago and the owners of two National Football League franchises.

The presence of so many big-name donors underscores the high priority both parties have given to the race, which some see as a test of whether moderate Republicans can still win in Northeast states that have been turning more blue with each election.

“It shows the national character that the race has taken on, that major donors to Republicans and Democrats are giving to the candidates in this race,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign finance expert and government professor at Colby College. He expects to see more boldface names appear on the donor lists as the campaign heads into the fall.

The contest is among Senate races in a dozen states that are hotly contested.

In Maine, neither candidate is likely to be strapped for cash in a contest that already has raked in a record amount for a political race in Maine.

The combined total already exceeds the $8 million Maine record for election spending set in 2002 in Collins’ win over Chellie Pingree. Collins had raised $5.83 million and Allen $3.93 million through May 21, acording to the latest campaign finance reports.

One of Collins’ major contributors this cycle is Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works, and parent company General Dynamics. The two-term senator, who sits on the Armed Services Committee’s seapower panel, has raised roughly $30,000 through individual contributions from about three dozen executives of the two companies, along with $6,000 from a political action committee funded by General Dynamics employees. Employees of Northrop Grumman, BIW’s chief rival, also gave Collins $5,000.

Allen, who relinquished his House Armed Services Committee seat five years ago, got little support from the Bath shipbuilder but received $10,000 from a political action committee organized by the yard’s biggest union, Local S6 of the Machinists union.

Allen, who practiced law in Portland before he entered politics, also drew strong support from that city’s legal community, with some giving the $4,600 maximum. Donors are permitted to contribute $2,300 for the primary campaign and another $2,300 for the general election.

Collins is unopposed in Tuesday’s primary; Allen faces token opposition.

Mary Tyler Moore gave $2,000 to Collins, a contribution linked to their mutual concern about diabetes. The campaign said the actress, who has the disease, is a longtime activist for diabetes research and Collins is the founding member of the Senate Diabetes Caucus.

Allen took in $1,000 from actress Barbara Streisand, a longtime donor to liberal causes, and $4,600 each from novelists Stephen and Tabitha King, who have long backed Democratic candidates. Other well-known authors lined up behind Allen were Richard Russo, who gave $750, and Tess Gerritsen, who gave $1,000.

Musicians supporting Allen include Don McLean, of “American Pie” fame, who lives in Camden and gave $500, Tom Lehrer, whose satirical songs made a splash in the 1950s and ’60s, a $1,000 donor, and bass guitarist Phil Lesh, a founding member of the Grateful Dead, a $500 contributor.

Collins took a share of Hollywood money with $2,000 from Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of such blockbusters as “Top Gun” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy. She also got $250 from Lois Chiles, the actress who played astronaut and CIA operative Dr. Holly Goodhead to Roger Moore’s James Bond in the 1979 film “Moonraker.”

The senator also got $2,000 from artist Jamie Wyeth, $4,200 from Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, and $1,000 from Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson IV, owner of the New York Jets.

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara each gave $4,600 to Collins; Bob Dole, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for president in 1996, gave 2,800.

Allen received $1,000 from the PAC of Bob Barr, the former Georgia congressman who was picked last month to be the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.

Allen was the lone Democrat alongside two dozen Republicans who received contributions from Barr’s PAC in this year’s House and Senate races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Allen spokeswoman Carol Andrews linked the donation to Allen’s leadership in the campaign to repeal Real ID.

Among former Maine senators, William Cohen donated $2,000 to Collins and George Mitchell gave $1,000 to Allen. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave $4,600 to Collins, who also received $1,000 from GOP political strategist Mary Matalin.

Both candidates had their share of boardroom bigwigs and Wall Street financiers.

Collins’ donors included IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano, at $1,000, and corporate raider Carl Icahn, at $2,300; Allen got $2,300 from American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault and $4,300 from financier George Soros.

Rockefeller money went in both directions. Two family members gave to Allen, three to Collins.

Some donors hedged their bets and gave to both campaigns. Among them was Barry Mills, president of Allen’s alma mater, Bowdoin College, who gave the maximum $4,600 to each.

Both Collins and Allen also turned back some money: Collins gave to charity $4,200 she received from Mississippi tort lawyer Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe a federal judge, and Allen returned from $1,000 from Norman Hsu, the disgraced Democratic fundraiser.

AP-ES-06-06-08 1359EDT


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.