It was incorrectly reported Sunday that the name of Howard Greenebaum, Democratic candidate for Congress in Maryland's 4th District, would not appear on ballot cards distributed by the Prince George's County Democratic organization. Although Greenebaum had insufficient funds to pay for a mailing of the sample ballots, his name will appear on the cards handed out at the polls on Election Day.
In mid-July, when the Democratic congressional candidate in Maryland's 4th District held a fund-raising cruise aboard an Annapolis tour boat, only 100 persons showed up, and the event netted about $3,500. Washington Bullets forward Tom McMillen was the most prominent Democrat there, and he shook hands on the dock and left before the Harbor Queen set sail.
Last week, the six-term Republican incumbent in the same district held her 13th annual bull roast at a beach club on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. A bipartisan crowd of more than 2,500 persons attended, and the affair raised about $25,000.
That, in a nutshell, is what Howard Greenebaum, 55, is up against in his struggle to unseat Rep. Marjorie S. Holt, 64, the only Republican member of Maryland's House delegation.
Greenebaum is "underfinanced, undermanned and undersubscribed to," in the words of one Anne Arundel County Democrat, and he suffers from all the disadvantages of a little-known challenger running against a well-financed Republican incumbent in a district that President Reagan carried in 1980.
Despite a better than 2-to-1 Democratic voter registration edge in an area that includes Anne Arundel County and parts of Prince George's and Howard counties, Holt is regarded as the prohibitive favorite to win a seventh term in the House, where she is a prodefense member of the Armed Services Committee and a staunch supporter of Reagan.
The conservative Holt's tenure in a state long known for liberal Democratic politics is testament to her deep roots in Anne Arundel County, a constituency that seems comfortable with her politics, and the historical factionalism of district Democrats.
"I believe that Marjorie Holt will be able to stay in Congress until she is ready to leave," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Warren Duckett, a Democrat supporting Greenebaum. "She brought 2,500 people to her fund-raiser -- that shows strength."
In contrast, Greenebaum's campaign "hasn't seemed to get off the ground," said state Sen. Michael J. Wagner (D-Anne Arundel).
Many other Democrats, speaking privately, are less charitable when they are asked to characterize the campaign mounted by the retired jeweler who won his party's nomination by default this year after losing a primary bid in 1982.
"It's a disaster," said a prominent Anne Arundel Democrat. "Not only is it not catching on, it's fizzling out. The more people he meets, the less votes he gets."
The same 4th District Democrats who publicly credit Greenebaum for taking on a thankless chore -- and mounting an energetic, issue-oriented, underdog challenge -- lament privately about his conduct in the campaign.
Incidents that have discomfited some Democrats include:
*Greenebaum's attempt to raise campaign funds by charging admission to his private swimming pool at his Arnold home. The county attorney quashed the effort, telling Greenebaum he would be in violation of county law.
*Greenebaum's newspaper ad designed to appeal to moderate Republicans, which featured a photo of himself standing with U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr., Maryland's popular liberal Republican senator. Mathias never authorized use of the photo, which ran under the headline, "Beware of extremists in today's Republican Party."
*His description of himself as a "scholar in foreign policy." Said Greenebaum at one of his frequent news conferences: "I have spent a good part of my life as a very skilled negotiator. I have negotiated in India, in the Middle East, in Africa, in Europe, and in London." Left unsaid was that those negotiations were on buying trips for his jewelry business.
Greenebaum, concludes one Anne Arundel Democratic activist, has tried to create "an illusion about who he is and what he represents. Howard pretends that if he goes to a meeting of the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs he's an expert . . . . It's a pathetic situation."
Those incidents, said Wagner, have left many Democrats with the feeling that Greenebaum "is trying to deceive someone. It's not being well received."
Asked about those criticisms, Greenebaum says, "I don't think I've been overstating my credentials at all. If anything, I've been modest. One of the hardest things in the world is buying diamonds. Anyone who ever followed me into the back alleys of Bombay would know those are very sophisticated negotiations. I've read a lot of books on foreign policy and attended a lot of conferences."
Greenebaum has collected endorsements from many state and local Democrats, and he has the support of organized labor. Others may dismiss the endorsements as "token," but Greenebaum says the party regulars "are in my corner."
Though he paints himself as a conservative, Greenebaum is basically coming at Holt from the left, characterizing her as a "representative of big business and the ultrarich," lambasting her for following "the narrow path of militarism," and criticizing her for voting against the interests of environmentalists, senior citizens, consumers and women.
The essence of Greenebaum's message is that Holt "is not representing the people of this district."
Holt's chief aide, in response, points out that she has won an average of about 61 percent of the vote in her 12-year congressional career. "The people ultimately agree with her voting record," said Mike Owen.
That record, says Holt, "is not as conservative as the press imagines. I'm really a moderate." Pointing out the pockets of liberal, labor and federal employe voters in her district, Holt disputes the conventional wisdom that the 4th District is more conservative than the state as a whole.
While rebutting Greenebaum's charges on defense spending ("I'm not for giving the military everything they want") and the environment ("I was one of the initial supporters of the Superfund"), Holt basically makes no apologies for her record. "The people know me and trust me," said the attorney and former clerk of the Anne Arundel Circuit Court.
Holt's trump card is her constituent service. "People don't vote on macro-economic issues," said Owen, "they vote on the personal touch." Holt, added State's Attorney Duckett, "is ideal" at the nuts and bolts of serving her constituents, though he said her skill in that area may have been "over-embellished."
Of Greenebaum, Holt says only, "I've never had an opponent like he is. It really shocks me that he'd resort to some of the things he's done, the pictures and all."
Greenebaum dismisses the Mathias photo incident as "much ado about nothing" and claims to enjoy "universal appeal to many segments of the population." But he concedes that most of the $65,000 he expects to spend -- half of Holt's budget -- will be his own.
In the Prince George's precincts of the district, the ballot cards distributed by the Democratic organization will not include his name because Greenebaum did not pay his share of the bill.
Can Greenebaum overcome the obstacles? "Howard is clearly a determined candidate," answered Anne Arundel County Executive James Lighthizer, picking his words carefully, "He's not easily deterred." Added Duckett, "Crazy things have happened before."