Unlike other sections of Montgomery county where the "shoe-leathering" circuit began furiously three months ago the Democrats in the 20th legislative district in Wheaton and Silver Spring began their door knocking campaign only this week.
"There hasn't been too much of a campaign at all," one of them said.
The reason: two-term incumbent state Sen. Victor E. Crawford has no Republican opposition, and the three Democratic House of Delegate candidates - two of them also incumbents - are being challenged by a lone Republican in a district that has a 3-1 Democratic edge in voter registration.
In fact, Republican House of Delegates candidate Quinn Scamahorn is considered so little a threat that the Democrats are spending more time campaigning for Democratic candidates Harry Hughes for governor and Charles Gilchrist for county executive than for themselves.
"We want to make sure we carry the district for them," said Crawford, a lawyer.
The turn of events is welcome for the Democrats. Their intraparty primary fights were particularly bitter, splitting them into two factions. Incumbent Del. Alex Bell was passed over for endorsement by the party leadership and lost his seat. Stewart Bainum Jr., a Manor Care nursing home executive and party activist, won more primary votes than the incumbent delegates.
This round is "fairly boring" said Bainum, a former chairman of the Silver Spring Development Council and former member of the executive board of the liberal Alliance for Democratic Reform.
If elected, he said, he would work for public financing of elections in the state, a more progressive income tax and a ceiling on a total taxes paid by individuals. But Bainum, like all the legislative candidates, opposes the taxcutting charter referendum TRIM (Tax Relief in Montgomery).
Incumbent Ida G. Ruben, a member of the House since 1975, said that her main interest in the next legislature will be senior citizens. "At the present time there is not one Medicaid funded bed in the nursing homes in our county . . . It's a terrible problem." she said. But it is a problem she and her running mate Balnum have never discussed, she said.
Ruben said she would continue her fight against the imposition of charges for Directory Assistance calls and her pro-tenant efforts to gain protection against "no-cause" evictions in the county.
Incumbent Sheilah Hixson, who was appointed to the House in 1976, has pledged to push for lower property taxes for old residences. Her interest grew primarily out of problems in Takoma Park, where owners of houses built 80 years ago or more need help to keep up their property, she said. The problem is particularly acute for senior citizens who want to remain in their old homes but are having difficulty paying the rising property taxes, Hixson said.
"I also want to get full service gasoline stations to provide self service prices for senior citizens and the handicapped who cannot take advantage of self-service," she said.
Scamahorn, the 22-Year-old Republican candidate for delegate, is special assistance to the Republican National Committee and was an assistant to State Sen. Howard Denis of Bethesda in 1978 General Assembly.
"I'm running because the incumbents are not responsive to people in their district," he said. His secondary interest is pushing for a statewide energy policy.
Scamahorn has fought his uphill battle by knocking on doors - to date at about 5,000 homes - and campaigning 20 hours each day.
Scamahorn has said that if elected he would open a fulltime district office for the nine months the legislature is not in session. Without being in touch with constituents, he said, "you cannot represent people you did not know."
He said that the statewide energy policy should include tax credits to encourage the use of solar energy and other alternative energy sources in the home.