Montgomery County Council member Michael L. Gudis, betting that veteran Democrats will renege on already announced endorsements, said last night he plans to enter the race for the congressional seat now held by Republican Constance A. Morella.

Gudis, a nine-year council member, in an interview last night pointedly referred to the "inexperience" of Maryland Del. Peter Franchot, one of four announced candidates in the March Democratic primary. He also said a recent decision by council colleague Rose Crenca not to run was a significant factor in his own decision.

"He's only been in office little over a year," Gudis said of Franchot, who is a freshman legislator from Takoma Park.

"I don't think he has the experience to do the job as well as I can."

For months leading up to next Monday's filing deadline, the county Democratic party leadership had struggled to find a candidate who could pose a challenge to freshman Morella in the 8th District, which includes the eastern two-thirds of the county.

In addition to Crenca, state Del. Nancy Kopp, a highly regarded expert on state education and budget matters, opted against running in the fall. Franchot, 40, officially entered the race earlier this month. Morella has officially announced her bid for reelection.

Gudis, 51, returned Tuesday from an eight-day vacation in Florida and said he began telephoning top-level Democrats in the county to determine whether he had support. Last night, Gudis said he expected to make an announcement next week. He said he had been assured he would receive endorsements from several party stalwarts, including Crenca, County Executive Sidney Kramer and state Sen. Larry Levitan. Levitan had endorsed Franchot when he announced his candidacy earlier this month.

Levitan said last night that Gudis was a "longstanding, old-time friend" and that he would support him in the primary. "Both are competent, but from the party standpoint, Mike has more name recognition," said Levitan, who serves as chairman of the influential Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

Crenca and Kramer could not be reached for comment.

Gudis said that former congressman Carlton Sickles, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary last year, has agreed to be chairman of his campaign.

Sources in the Democratic party said yesterday that Gudis decided to enter because he had nothing to lose, and a lot to gain, by running for Congress. Party activists privately have expressed annoyance with Franchot, who raised nearly $60,000 for his delegate race last year and has not concealed his interest in climbing the political ladder quickly.

Franchot last night said he "had heard reports" that Gudis was considering entering the race but had not heard about any endorsement switches. "If {Gudis} files, the more, the merrier," said Franchot, a lawyer and former staff director for Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.). "If he does announce, I look forward to debating national issues with him."

If Gudis files as expected, he will be challenging relative newcomers to county politics, a point that he said yesterday sparked his interest.

Those in the Democratic primary are: Allan J. Lichtman of Bethesda, a professor of history and associate dean at American University; Ralph Shur of Germantown, a telemarketing sales representative; and James W. Walker Jr. of Bethesda, an education researcher.