In today's Virginia Weekly, which is printed in advance, the editorial page editor of the Potomac News was incorrectly identified. Her name is Elizabeth Gropman. (Published 10/15/87)

After service in the Korean and Vietnam wars, retired Marine Edwin C. King can now boast of experience in yet another conflict -- the battle of the sexes.

King, a Dumfries District Democrat running for reelection to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, has been pilloried in recent weeks for what critics said was a sexist remark cast at his Republican-backed independent challenger, Norma G. Pandazides.

At recent campaign appearances, King has told audiences that among the most important duties of a supervisor is to be a shrewd negotiator with real estate developers who are seeking approval of their projects. "I ask you," he said, "do you believe a hard-nosed Marine colonel is better dealing with that sort of thing than a government stenographer?"

Pandazides, the government stenographer in question, was unamused. "The comment wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't in character" for King, she said, adding that she holds a commercial real estate license and has operated a preschool. "I think {the remark} was aimed at women in general."

Several letters to the editor of The Potomac News, a Prince William County newspaper, and a column by editorialist Deborah Bowers upbraided King for what they viewed as a chauvinistic remark.

Asked last week about the uproar, King said he wasn't making a case that one sex is better qualified to hold the reins of local government than the other. In addition to his Marine experience, his first term on the county board makes him more qualified than his opponent, the incumbent said.

King did congratulate Pandazides for what he said was her shrewd use of the sexism flap to increase her political visibility.

Saturday evening at Mount Vernon High School, perhaps 1,000 people overflowed the football stadium bleachers to watch youngsters from around the state compete in the Mount Vernon Invitational Marching Band Classic.

Of course, the politicians were on hand to present the trophies. When Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale), candidate for the county board chairmanship, was introduced, there was loud applause, accompanied by some scattered cheers and whoops.

Minutes later, when incumbent Republican Chairman John F. Herrity was called on, the applause was polite, but noticeably more restrained. ("Republicans don't cheer as loud as Democrats as a rule," he quipped later.)

When it came time for Supervisor T. Farrell Egge, a Mount Vernon Republican in whose district the event took place, to present a trophy, there was silence.

"I didn't pay much attention to it one way or another," Egge said later. "The Jack and Audrey show is putting everyone else in the shade."

Egge has been embroiled in a series of local controversies in his district, and political strategists of both parties say his reelection is in doubt.

Egge's Democratic challenger, Gerald W. Hyland, did not attend the competition.

Democrats and Republicans in Fairfax are gearing up the biggest telephone banks ever organized in the county.

In June, a group of veteran Republican strategists, acknowledging that several GOP incumbents on the county Board of Supervisors were in danger of losing, formed a group called Unity '87. The group's purpose, according to organizers, was to make sure that the Republicans' worst fears did not come true on Election Day.

So far, the group has raised $60,000, has pledges for an additional $20,000 and hopes to collect $110,000 by the election. With that money, Unity '87 has undertaken a drive to contact huge numbers of registered voters throughout the county.

The telephoning started Sept. 9, and by last week, phone calls had been made to the households of some 42,000 registered voters; organizers hope to have reached twice that many by Election Day, Nov. 3.

"Calling as many as we have called . . . as centralized and efficiently and computerized as we have done, has not been done" before in a local race, said Michael W. Thompson, a fund-raising and direct marketing expert who is an organizer of Unity '87.

The telephone campaign, which will be followed by direct mail from Herrity and other Republican candidates for the county board, aims to identify voters' party affiliations and preferences in the current campaigns.

Unity '87 was formed as a political action committee; it is distinct from the county GOP committee, which has been split in recent years between feuding moderates and conservatives.

Democrats seem to have gotten off to a slower start, but party officials say privately they are confident they can match Unity '87's efforts by Election Day.

Harris N. Miller, the county Democratic chief, said that while the phone bank is in "the early stages" now, "we're going to contact the households that need to be contacted, I can assure you of that."

He added: "We'll have one of the biggest voter-contact efforts ever by the Democratic Party in Fairfax County, if not the biggest."