BALTIMORE, AUG. 14 -- Everyone knows that Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer supports Mayor Clarence H. (Du) Burns' long shot campaign to hang on to his job, but Burns said today voters needed a reminder.

"Governor, it seems like nobody is paying attention to you," Burns told Schaefer at a $500-a-plate breakfast attended by a small cadre of fund-raisers who have supported Schaefer in the past. "Either somebody's not getting the message or they don't believe you or they don't want to believe you."

So Schaefer made it official: "Du Burns is my friend," said Schaefer, and although he has steadfastly refused before now to get publicly involved in the race between Burns and State's Attorney Kurt Schmoke, Schaefer said there should be no question about whom he supports.

"I came out for Du Burns the day I went down to the governor's mansion," Schaefer said.

Whether Schaefer's loyalty for Burns and his well-known personal animosity for Schmoke will make a difference in the Sept. 15 primary is another question.

Schmoke, who instantly became one of the city's most popular politicians in 1982 when he upset the incumbent to become state's attorney, has held a commanding lead over Burns in every poll taken. The latest, published two weeks ago in the Baltimore Sun, showed Schmoke with a nearly 30 percentage point lead over Burns.

Because of the city's overwhelmingly Democratic registration, winning the nomination is tantamount to election, and either Burns or Schmoke will become the city's first elected black mayor.

Burns was elected Baltimore City Council president with Schaefer's help in 1983, and was automatically elevated to mayor when Schaefer became governor in January. "He will have a friend in Annapolis," Schaefer said, adding, "Can we get along? You bet we can. You bet we can."

Schaefer also appealed for financial help for Burns from the crowd of business executives and downtown developers, saying "he needs money right now."

Schmoke is said to have a wide lead over Burns in fund-raising and plans an extensive media campaign in the closing weeks of the race.

Burns didn't have much to give the crowd in the way of hard evidence that the race was changing, but said he felt there had been a shift. "I really believe I'm going to win," he said. "I honestly believe I'm going to win. I really believe it."

But while Burns tried to align himself closely with Schaefer -- "I sat at {his} right hand," Burns said -- Schaefer was noncommittal about whether he would play a larger role in the Burns campaign.

"I don't think I can say anything else," Schaefer said. "I don't want to get in his way."