Carlton G. Beall, a former Prince George's county sheriff and high-ranking federal post office official, yesterday formally announced his entry into the Republican gubernatorial primary race.

Beall, 60, said he has financial commitments of nearly $100,000 for the campaign, which he said would be based on the theme of decreasing the level of state government employment while increasing private business in the state.

Beall joins former state legislator John Hardwicke, an attorney, and political science professor Don Devine as the only announced candidates in the Republican race. Anne Arundel County Executive Robert Pascal, who has often expressed interest in the race, is expected to announce his decision next week, according to an aide.

Acting Gov. Blair Lee III; Attorney General Francis B. Burch; Baltimore City Council President Walter Orlinsky; Steny H. Hoyer, president of the Maryland Senate; Ted Venetoulis, Baltimore County executive, and Harry Hughes, former state transportation secretary, have all announced for the Democratic primary.

Beall spent much of his press conference attacking Lee and what he claimed was the poor economic climate in the state. He frequently waved copies of a recent Johns Hopkins University task force report detailing loss of 41,000 jobs in the state in the past five years, and called the report an "indictment" of Lee and suspended Gov. Marvin Mandel.

When the Johns Hopkins report was issued in March, Lee called it "unnecessarily critical" and said that it focused on a period before he took office.

Beall, a distant relative of the better-known Maryland political family, was sheriff of Prince George's County 1950-1954, U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia 1954-1958 and U.S. postmaster in the District as well as a high-ranking official of the revamped Postal Service until his retirement two years ago.

He owns 145 acres near the Capital Centre, which will be developed as a recreational vehicle park, according to an aide.

In 1971 he finished second in a non-partisan race to select for the first county executive of Prince George's county. The winner was Republican William Gullett.In third place, 2,000 votes behind Beall, was Hoyer.