Republican businessman Edward J. Gannon, saying Montgomery County's government is paralyzed by "hysteria over unbridled growth" and "petty bickering" among its ruling Democrats, opened a campaign yesterday to become the affluent suburb's next county executive.
In launching his first bid for elective office, Gannon, 54, called for an end in 1986 to the "one-party control" of the county executive's office and the seven-member County Council, two arms of government long dominated by Democrats.
Gannon's candidacy already has drawn some organizational help from the Republican National Committee and GOP elders in Montgomery. Gannon said yesterday that although Democrats outnumber Republicans in Montgomery roughly 2 to 1, he could win by capitalizing on President Reagan's personal popularity in the county, the growing number of young Republican registrants and voter displeasure at the policies of incumbent Democrats.
"The candidates now being offered by our one-party system are more of the same old stuff," Gannon told about 80 supporters in Rockville. "I don't think it's the right stuff."
Gannon, a former U.S. Treasury Department official who is now a private consultant, is expected to face Albert Ceccone, a local real estate consultant who ran unsuccessfully for county executive in 1978, in the Republican primary this September.
Yesterday, Gannon dismissed Ceccone as "not a factor" in the primary election.
Ceccone, informed of Gannon's comment, described his rival's chief allies as "retreads of past failures who have shown they can't win general elections."
Gannon must overcome very low name recognition among voters, according to his close supporters.
"He's going to have to get around the county," said Del. Constance A. Morella, the Bethesda Republican whose last campaign was chaired by Gannon. "Visibility is what Ed's going to need."
Yesterday Gannon seized on two issues of probable interest to Republicans and Democrats alike: the crush of development in Montgomery and the management of the county's $1 billion-a-year government.
"With today's miserable traffic conditions and jammed schools, one might think that businesses and builders went wild with uncontrolled growth," Gannon said.
"The problem has not been caused by excessive growth," he said, but rather by a failure of the county's elected officials to provide public services at the same rapid pace of development. The problem has been exacerbated by the personal schisms in the council and between the council and County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist, Gannon said.
Gannon drew the most applause yesterday when he lobbed a dart at the county government's costly and nationally publicized effort to halt -- on antidiscrimination grounds -- a "ladies night" food discount offered by a Silver Spring pub.
Gannon said he concurred with the Democratic politician who once huffed, "I am sick and tired of the Montgomery County government being considered a laughing stock."