Edward E. Lane, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Richmond for the last 24 years, is now running for state attorney general. But voters in Northern Virginia may have trouble finding that out.
Several hundred volunteers and paid staff members are working in Northern Virginia for Lanne's Democratic running mates, gubernatorial candidate Henry Howell and lieutenant gubernatorial contender Charles S. (Chuck) Robb.
Meanwhile, Lane has but two volunteers working for him in Northern Virginia and apparently is having trouble creating any excitement for his candidacy in the populous Virginia suburbs of Washington, which have more than one-fifth of the state's voters.
"It's a low-visibility campaign," concedes Chuck Kaufman, Lane's Northern Virginia coordinator who works part-time in the evening and on weekends for the candidate.
Kaufman stood up at a recent Fairfax Court Democratic committee meeting and asked for volunteers to work for Lane. No one answered the call.
Many Northern Virginia Democrats say the Lane campaign lacks volunteers in the region because he is not well-known in the area and his conservative views conflict with those of many Democrats in the area.
"I know there are some liberal Democrats up here who will not vote for Ed" and may even cast their ballots on Nov. 8 for the Republican attorney general candidate, State Sen. J. Marshall Coleman (R-Staunon), according to Emilie Miller, chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.
Part of Lane's Northern Virginia problem stems from the fact that he did not make a single appearance in the region until after the June 14 primary. He defeated three candidates in that race, two of them from northern Virginia.
"We didn't feel we had a chance before the primary since (John T.) Schell and (John L.) Melnick were from here," Lane has said.
Despite Lane's difficulties in Northern Virginia, Miller, like numerous other Democrats, says she expects Lane to be elected on the coattails of Howell and Robb.
"The tactic up here (to get Lane elected) is (to stress) Democratic loyalty," Kaufman said.
"Most of the workers have rallied around the ticket," said Judy Cloe, chairman of the Arlington Democratic Committee. "They're willing to work for the whole ticket."
"They're going to vote for him, but they're not that gung-ho to get out and work for him," one local politican said.
Some Northern Virginia Democrats cite Lane's support in the 1950s for massive resistance to public school desegregation as the reason for their lack of enthusiasm for him.
Kaufman, who works full-time as an aide to Fairfax Supervisor Joseph (D'Lee), said he and Larry Whitner, an unemployed Fairfax County school teacher, are the two Lane volunteers. He said they plan a mail-out to lawyers in the area for which they will need volunteers to stuff and address envelopes.
Lane, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has campaigned in Northern Virginia five times within the last two weeks, Kaufman said.
He said there has been one fund-raiser in Northern Virginia for Lane, which was staged earlier this week by William Hazel, a Fairfax County contractor. Mostly businessmen attended the fund-raiser, ehich netted "several hundred dollars, a very, very modest amount," according to a campaign aide in Lane's headquarters in Richmond.
The rest of Lane's appearances in the area have been at fund-raisers and receptions for Howell and Robb.