Frank Wolf was pushing his candidacy for Virginia's 10th District congressional seat among the lunch-time gathering in the cafeteria of the First American Bank building at Tysons Corner.
"Frank, are you a Republican or a Democrat?" a middle-aged man asked as he looked up from his plate of fish, green peas and potatoes.
"A Republican," replied Wolf, who ia having his problems getting his name known to the voters in the district where he is running against two-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Joseph L., Fisher in the November election.
"He (Wolf) has got an uphill battle," said Republican State Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr., who ran unsuccessfully against Fisher two years ago.
Fisher's strong image and popularity have troubled the GOP ever since he unseated longtime Republican Rep. Joel T. Broyhill in 1974. Two years later the 64-year-old Fisher defeated Callahan, one of the GOP's most popular state delegates, by a 10-to-7 margin.
Wolf, 39, a former congressional aide and a deputy assistant sceretary for congressional relations in the Interior Department during the Nixon and Ford administratings who has never held public office. He admits that running against an incumbent, like Fisher, is a difficult task.
White Fisher tells audiences about his "mobile camper" part of his service to constitutents, and about his voting record, Wolf tells voters what he would do if elected or attacks Fisher's voting record.
At a recent debate between the two candidates in Arlington, Wolf said for Fisher's voting record was too liberal for 10th District voters and began detailing those votes.
To which Fisher retorted: "I'm the only one with a voting record."
"Oh, come on Joe," said Wolf, "you didn't have a voting record when you were 39, either. Be fair."
"You can only be so hard on him [Fisher]," said Wolf, sitting in his windowless orange-carpeted campaign headquarters in the basement of a Falls Church office building. "He's as old as my father. We are taught to defer to old people. . ."
Wolf believes voters will be more receptive to him if he concentrates on Fisher's voting record and leaves personalities out of the race.
So far, he has had few opportunities to attack Fisher's voting record in joint appearances, because Fisher has been spending most of his time in Congress.
Wolf, a self-described conservative, has been campaigning since March in shopping centers, grocery stores, beauty salons, lines at banks, office buildings ("I got thrown out of a couple") parades and the like.
"Believe me, I'm going to win," he says. "I've worked a lot harder than he (Fisher) has. I've met more people than he has met (since) he's been in Congress."
Already Wolf has raised $148,836 for his campaign, and he hopes to raise $198,800 by election day. Most of his money has come from national Republican sources and conservative political action groups. Former representative Broyhill, who held the 10th District position for 22 years before being defeated by Fisher in 1974, has contributed $1,000 to Wolf's campaign.
A native of Philadelphia, Wolf moved to Northern Virginia in 1961, after graduating from Pennsylvania State University.
A college roommate says Wolf's ambition to run for Congress was so well-known among his fraternity brothers that they nicknamed him "senator" in college.
The son of a retired Philadelphia policeman, Wolf graduate from Georgetown Law School in 1965. Wolf is no stranger to Capitol Hill. He worked as a legislative assistant for the National Canners Association from 1963 to 1968 and was a legislative assistant to Rep. Edward G. Beister of Pennsylvania from 1968 to 1971, when he began working for the Interior Department.
"My biggest asset is I know the Hill," he said. "I could begin as a congressman the very first day."
Wolf, who lives with his wife and five children in Vienna, says inflation is the nation's "number one problem." He supports major tax cuts, more "equitable funding" for Metro and limiting service in the Senate and House to 12 years.
The 10th District includes Loudoun and Arlington counties, northern Fairfax County, Falls Church and Fairfax City.