Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs took advantage yesterday of what he called "dead space," empty hours before the football game and the pregame shows, to press his gubernatorial campaign, and hosted a Super Bowl brunch for more than 300 Montgomery County Democrats at a Gaithersburg restaurant.

The brunch, which was scheduled in what Sachs described as "the only available time for political junkies," drew a number of politicos and their families to hear Sachs talk about himself and his opponent, Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer.

"Mayor Schaefer and I represent two very different political approaches and political traditions," Sachs said. "He comes from a tradition that values secrecy in government . . . . I come from a tradition that values the discussion and debate that really is the music of democracy."

Sachs spent a few minutes at the microphone and then the bulk of the event shaking hands and working the crowd, which included elected officials from municipal, county and state offices. Most of the county's delegation to the General Assembly, a number of Circuit Court judges and municipal mayors, and a number of candidates for the state legislature were there.

The spread at the Flaming Pit restaurant, including whole pit-broiled lamb and pig, 160 pounds of beef and a four-foot-high chocolate cake, was lavish. The free event, sponsored by Sachs' Montgomery County campaign organization, was not to raise funds, but was billed instead as an opportunity to "talk about the New Year, football and politics."

"I feel close to Montgomery County," Sachs said yesterday. "I've always run very well over here."

The attorney general, who has declared himself a "grass-roots candidate," mixed yesterday with the county's Democratic activists, many of whom have not declared their loyalties in the gubernatorial contest and are busy fighting their own political battles this election season.

When it comes to electoral contests, "This is the most wide-open year in memory, particularly in the county," said County Council member David Scull, a candidate for county executive. "The public of this county will be so partied out by September."