In eight years on the Montgomery County Council, William E. Hanna Jr. has rarely hesitated to speak his mind. Sometimes, he admits, he let a situation get the better of him. And sometimes, he made a few enemies.

Now, in an effort to thwart Hanna's reelection bid in the District 3 Democratic primary, first-time candidate Anne Robbins is enlisting the support of some of those adversaries -- county government employees, teachers, police and other union members -- all angered by the incumbent's role in recent salary and budget disputes.

Known in the political community mostly for her tireless campaigning for her husband, Rockville City Council member David Robbins, the 48-year-old former teacher was encouraged by the unions to run against Hanna. They are putting up signs, helping to write brochures and pumping thousands of dollars into Robbins's underdog candidacy.

"Mr. Hanna is not a friend to labor; that's why {the teachers union} and others encouraged me to run," Robbins said. "They are tired of the workers paying for development and not having it the other way around, and they knew I would be someone who would work for them."

"It really is a shame that people don't look at a total record," said Hanna, 69, adding that union leaders are focusing too narrowly on his and the council's refusal to fund fully the pay increase teachers negotiated.

The winner of the Sept. 11 contest will face independent candidate Stephen N. Abrams, a former member of the Rockville City Council, in the Nov. 6 general election. No Republicans are running in District 3, which takes in northern Potomac and all of Rockville and sweeps east to portions of Kensington, Wheaton, Glenmont and Aspen Hill. The 29,147 registered Democrats make up 54 percent of the 53,963 voters there.

Robbins is also attempting to draw support from voters who believe that Montgomery is growing too fast and that those responsible include Hanna and County Executive Sidney Kramer, with whom Hanna is allied on a campaign slate.

She attacks the generous contributions Hanna has received from the development community and his support of more commercial growth in Shady Grove, which borders growth-sensitive Rockville, where 40 percent of the district's voters live.

But Hanna points out that he wants to impose a special development tax on the Shady Grove area. Robbins also supports exacting more revenue from developers, but said she does not have specific programs in mind because she doesn't have the "luxury" of a council staff.

Hanna's campaign manager, Milton T. Lawrey, said developer donations to Hanna's $47,000 war chest -- $27,600 of which remains from his 1986 campaign -- may give a "bad impression." Lawrey said Hanna also could be hurt by the attention drawn to development by council member Neal Potter's challenge of Kramer in the county executive race.

But, for Hanna, unopposed in the primary four years ago, the unions' commitment to his defeat comes as a particular blow. He cites his sponsorship of legislation on early retirement and retirement counseling for county government employees and his continuing efforts to get a parental leave policy for those workers.

But the unions, simply put, view Hanna with disdain. The unions single him out among others on the council who took the same position on key votes because they say he set a hostile tone during budget talks -- especially in his past year as council president -- and because he too frequently admonished them to be more sensitive to taxpayer concerns.

"It's not that we're so hot on Anne Robbins," said Ken Reichard, director of government affairs for the Local 400 county employees union. "It's that we're anti-Bill Hanna."

"It's definitely a priority race for us," said Richard Bank, executive director of the Montgomery County Education Association, the county teachers union.

The education association will pour $30,000 to $40,000 into Montgomery's political campaigns, but officials have not determined how much will be directed to the District 3 race. Along with the cash support that comes with the group's endorsement, Robbins -- who has raised $4,000 -- gets free photocopying at the union's Rockville headquarters, use of the telephones to call potential voters and her name on a sample ballot some of the union's 500 to 1,000 volunteers will distribute at the polls. An estimated 600 to 700 teachers and nearly 1,000 school support workers reside in the district -- facts not lost on Robbins.

Both Robbins and Hanna claim strong ties to District 3 -- Hanna was Rockville mayor from 1974 to 1982, and Robbins went door-to-door in her husband's council campaigns and his unsuccessful county executive bid four years ago.

Although Robbins said she differs with Hanna on most issues, she may side with him and "probably support" a proposed charter amendment tying the property tax rate to inflation.

Hanna said that although he is "concerned" about Robbins's challenge, he is confident that people appreciate his efforts in promoting a magnet program to boost enrollment at Rockville's Richard Montgomery High School, urging more funding for school computers, and sponsoring the bill for the county's catastrophic health insurance program. He is especially proud of his work in housing, which he considers the top issue, and for a program -- now in its early stages -- that he said will bring government and private developers together to build 25,000 affordable housing units in the next seven years.

He noted that even Anne Robbins gave $25 to his campaign, which he promptly returned when she entered the race.

As for his rhetoric, he knows it has the proven ability to offend the unions, fellow council members and often gay people. But he said it's never meant to be personal.

"I don't do it maliciously," Hanna said. "I know why it happens -- I can't stand hypocrisy . . . . It makes me gag."