The battle for election endorsements continued this week in the Montgomery County executive race when Richmond M. Keeney, the Republican candidate, announced that ministers in nine predominantly black churches would tell their congregations, from the pulpit, to vote for him.
"We're bloc voting right now," said the Rev. Albert Luckett, pastor of John Wesley United Methodist Church in Clarksburg.
Luckett's church and eight other congregations with about 4,500 members have formed the "Black Churches for Keeney" team. They are Emory Grove, Steuartown, Good Hope, Brookgrove, St, Marks and Ashbury United Methodist, the Refuge Church of God and Poplar Grove Baptist.
In addition, Keeney added to his list of black suporters Blanche Cure, head of the Broadmoor (Summit Hill) Tenants Association in Silver Spring.
But Charles W. Gilchrist, the Democratic executive candidate, said he also has a "number of people in the black community supporting me." Before the primary, Gilchrist ran a newspaper a listing 25 black supporters, including George Sealey, president of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. He also sent out an endorsement letter from Sen. Clarence Blount of Baltimore of the General Assembly black caucus. Gilchrist has been a state senator for four years.
The black community of the county, which numbers about 10 percent of the population, has only recently become an interest group courted by candidates. With the formation of the Black Voters League two years ago, some black activists decided it was time their special interests also received the candidates' attention.
John Day, a cochairman of the Gilchrist campaign and a black lawyer, said Gilchrist has a record in the state Senate of "working for black causes." Day noted Gilchrist's opposition to reimposition of the death penalty, which was fought by the legislative black caucus, and his vote to increase money for the Aid to Department Children welfare program.