"No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating," wrote Oscar Wilde in "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Norma G. Pandazides would seem to agree. As a Republican candidate for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, Pandazides was asked recently by a reporter to tell her age.
There was a pause before the candidate replied: "No, I don't want to mention my age. If I'd known I would be asked, I'm not sure I would have run. Age and sex are irrelevant here."
Pandazides' opponent for the Dumfries District seat in southern Prince William is incumbent Democrat Edwin C. King. His age is 57.
In Fairfax County, the race between Republican county board Chairman John F. Herrity and Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) is thought to be fairly even in all but one major area, money.
Moore, whose fund raising has surpassed the expectations of even her most committed Democratic allies, reports having collected about $165,000 to date. She is hoping to bring that figure to $250,000 by Election Day Nov. 3.
Herrity, whose donations briefly lagged during the summer, will not comment on his recent fund raising since the last official fund-raising report was due. However, donations to Herrity are believed to have surged since last month, when Herrity reported a war chest of $200,000. Most Democrats guess that Herrity has collected at least $300,000.
The dollar disparity is readily apparent to even a casual visitor at the Herrity and Moore campaign headquarters. At Moore's cramped office in downtown Annandale, volunteers work cheek-by-jowl in a large room stuffed with equipment. A copying machine that appears to be of Korean War vintage is frequently on the fritz and the butt of constant office jokes.
"It's so old that many of our volunteers didn't know what it was," said Janice Spector, a Moore spokesman.
Herrity's headquarters in Merrifield fills a half dozen rooms in a low-slung building bedecked with "Herrity for Chairman" signs.
The copying machine is large and modern. While the buzz of activity never seems quite so great as in Moore's headquarters, Herrity's office reveals small signs of organizational finesse.
There are, for example, boxes of stationery waiting to be addressed under the letterheads "Doctors for Herrity" and "Lawyers for Herrity." A bank of computer terminals hums sharply in a separate room. In the back, campaign manager Tom Herrity (the candidate's son) presides from a wood-paneled office.
While Moore said she still is not sure if she will be able to afford television spots on the major local stations -- she was pricing media spots this week -- Herrity is believed to be planning at least one and possibly two or more additional television ads.
His first ad, emphasizing his efforts to improve the area's transportation system, started airing yesterday.
What form subsequent ads may take depends in part on the advice of his media consultants, Mike Murphy and Alex Castellanos of Alexandria.
Their firm, Murphy-Castellanos Advertising, is better known for producing ads for conservative Republicans running in U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.
The firm's recent clients have included Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and former Sens. Mack Mattingly (R-Ga.) and Steve Symms (R-Idaho).
Some of the ads have been both praised as hard-hitting and effective and criticized as below-the-belt.
For example, in Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary last year, Murphy-Castellanos produced a spot attacking Bob Martinez, a former mayor of Tampa, for having embraced President Carter as a Democrat and then having switched parties. Martinez won the primary, beating Murphy-Castellanos' client, former Rep. Lou Frey Jr. (R-Fla.), by nearly a 2-to-1 ratio.
Some analysts in Fairfax speculate that sometime before Election Day Nov. 3, Herrity will run a tough ad attacking Moore votes against various road projects.
Although Herrity also opposed certain road proposals, it is unclear whether Moore would have the means to respond to such an attack with an ad of her own.
"Both have very defined profiles," said Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III (R-Mason). "The media is not going to be able to alter that significantly."