Henry Bain, the former Montgomery County Council aide who wants to be county executive, agrees it doesn't make sense that he and council member Neal Potter both challenge incumbent Sidney Kramer in the Democratic primary.

"Neal and I stand for the same things essentially . . . . Only one of us should be a candidate," Bain said. He acknowledged that Potter, a respected council member for 20 years, is better known and has a much larger following than he does.

Bain announced yesterday he has called a meeting to assess Potter's support before he decides whether to withdraw from the race.

Bain said he is sending letters to Democratic party workers and to civic leaders inviting them to a strategy session. Bain said he wants to find out from these people what work they would be willing to do to help elect Potter.

In a letter announcing the meeting, set for 7:30 Monday night at the Twinbrook Library, Bain said, "If I see that Neal Potter can count on this kind of strong, grass-roots commitment to a hard summertime of campaigning, I will withdraw from the race and sign up as a volunteer in the Neal Potter for county executive campaign."

Bain announced his candidacy on May 29, quit his county job to run and has spent about $7,500, mostly his own money, in his fledgling campaign for county executive. Bain said he doesn't feel betrayed nor is he upset by Potter's decision to run, which was announced just two hours before the filing deadline.

Potter opened yesterday's news conference joking that the theme for his campaign is "Gee, Neal, if you had told me that back in May!"

Bain said that Potter didn't recruit him to run nor did he make him any promises.

Bain said that one advantage he feels he has over Potter is that he does have an organization, albeit it a small one, in place.

Bain said Potter will attend Monday's meeting. Candidates have until next Thursday to withdraw from the Sept. 11 primary.