John M. Pantelides, an Annapolis businessman and a Democrat who served as an assistant to former Republican Anne Arundel County executive Robert A. Pascal, announced today he would run for Congress in Maryland's 4th District.

Pantelides, 38, joins Tom McMillen, a forward on the Washington Bullets basketball team, in the contest for the Democratic nomination.

Six Republicans are vying for a chance to win the seat being vacated by GOP Rep. Marjorie S. Holt, who is retiring after 14 years on Capitol Hill. Holt has endorsed Del. Robert R. Neall, the minority leader in the House of Delegates.

The district includes all of Anne Arundel County and parts of Howard and Prince George's counties.

Pantelides stressed his ties to the district as a lifelong resident of the area, a former Annapolis high school teacher and a county government worker. He described himself as "the candidate with a wife, two kids and a mortgage . . . in tune with middle America."

"The thing about me is that I've been here," he said. "It just makes sense that the person we send to Congress is one who's been involved in this community . . . . I have the hands-on experience. I have a record of government service."

McMillen, who attended the University of Maryland in 1970-74, bought a house in Crofton in 1980 and has lived full time in the district since 1982.

Pantelides said the issues he most wants to tackle in Congress are excessive government spending, drugs, crime and methods of increasing cooperation between government and business.

He said the federal government should find ways to use the military to help stem the flow of illegal drugs into the country, rather than to depend exclusively on the Coast Guard. "We need to rearrange some of our federal resources, and apply it to the problem," he said.

Pantelides acknowledged that he will not match the campaign war chests of McMillen and Neall, but said "we are going to raise enough money to win." So far, he said, he has raised about $20,000. McMillen has reported campaign contributions of almost $200,000, while Neall has reported almost $100,000.