The reelection campaign committee for Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist, whose officers were announced at a press conference Monday, has raised $45,000 for the primary and general races.
Gilchrist spent $125,000 to win in the 1978 elections, but that amount covered a hard-fought primary against Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson. Since County Council member David L. Scull has announced that he will not challenge Gilchrist, a similar primary struggle this year is not expected by most political observers.
"I'm conservative about these things, but I think that we will need about $100,000 to run this campaign," said attorney Gil Lessenco, a former treasurer for the Montgomery Democratic Party who will act as a cochairman for Gilchrist's reelection effort.
Although Gilchrist often has mentioned his intention to seek a second term as county executive, he still has made no formal announcement. Aides indicated that he will start his campaign in late April.
Rockville businessman Wade Dunn and retired county employe Athlyn B. Waller already have announced that they will seek the Democratic nomination for the executive post.
Lessenco said that several prominent Maryland Democrats have "enthusiastically" joined Gilchrist's campaign as honorary vice chairmen. Among those named were former acting Maryland governor Blair Lee III, Sen. Paul Sarbanes and Rep. Michael Barnes.
"I'm extremely pleased that these leaders in the state and in the county have come forward to endorse me. I'm delighted," said Gilchrist after the press conference Monday. But the executive did not share Lessenco's optimism about campaign funds. "We ought to aim for about $200,000," Gilchrist said, attributing the increase to inflation and postal rate increases since 1978.
Lessenco said that Winifred Scott DuMars, the county's register of wills from 1966 through 1978 and a former county precinct chairperson, will be the other cochairman of the Gilchrist campaign.
John Beckman, a former Washington area manager for the U.S. Civil Service Commission, will be treasurer for the campaign, Lessenco said. County housewife Jeannie Blinkoff will be campaign coordinator. Barbara Goldberg-Goldman, a former employe of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be finance coordinator.
Lessenco said that Gilchrist's campaign would focus on the incumbent's record of "careful, prudent use of fiscal resources," economic development and the county's work to compensate for federal and state budget cuts, and "effective leadership."
When asked how Gilchrist's campaign would respond to charges about the county's liquor department controversy from the the most likely Republican candidate, Montgomery Del. Luiz Simmons, Lessenco said: "It's my sincere hope that these issues are dead and buried, but we'll answer any questions."