Running for his 17th term, Republican Vincent F. Callahan Jr. says he expects to spend $250,000 this time around to ensure his reelection to the House of Delegates from the 34th District. Democratic challenger Carole L. Herrick, who is spending about $30,000 in her second bid for the seat, can only hope that dollars don't automatically equate to votes.

The financing mismatch looms in the background of an election campaign focused mainly on Northern Virginia's hot issues of the day: an overloaded transportation network and a crowded school system struggling to meet academic standards.

Herrick, 58, a community activist and former tennis professional, hopes to score some political points on the campaign financing issue, after losing decisively two years ago with 38 percent of the vote to Callahan's 62 percent.

"This is an $18,000-a-year job," she said. "There are campaigns that are raising $300,000 for this job."

"Each one gets more expensive," said Callahan, 67, who two years ago raised $206,000, compared with $13,000 for Herrick. "I'm confident I'll have a comfortable victory."

While both candidates agree that transportation and education are the main issues, they differ somewhat on their approaches. Callahan advocates extending rail service from the West Falls Church Metro station to Dulles International Airport, but he also wants to put more money into road-building projects, notably the completion of the Fairfax County Parkway and the widening of Route 7. Herrick supports extensions of rail service, but not more road construction, at least for the time being.

"All of my efforts will go into alternative forms of transportation," she said. "I call it rails and trails."

Herrick said she expects charter schools and school vouchers to emerge as major issues in the General Assembly next year and opposes both. Callahan called school vouchers a "non-issue" unlikely to come up, but said he supports charter schools.

"We have enabling legislation, and we ought to give it a try on a pilot basis," he said. He said Thomas Jefferson High School already is "a form of charter school."

Callahan, the legislature's senior Republican and chairman of the key House Appropriations Committee, says his seniority and experience are major assets in such efforts as obtaining matching funds for rail service in the Dulles corridor. On transportation and education, he said: "My opponent has no record and has no ideas on these subjects. She's in a fog about them."

Herrick charges that Callahan has developed "a cavalier attitude" during his nearly 32 years in office and points to what she calls a "sexist speech" he gave last year in an annual roast of other delegates. "It was gross," she said, "and women haven't forgotten that speech." Callahan apologized profusely for his remarks.

Herrick also is challenging Callahan on gun control, arguing that "we need to curb the easy access and proliferation of firearms."

Callahan, who publishes a newsletter on military procurement, said gun control "is not an issue" in this election, adding that "nobody's ever mentioned it to me except her." He said Virginia's gun-control laws already have been "tightened up," although "there are a few more loopholes we can close." He accused Democrats of "trying to take advantage of tragedies in other states" to push for gun control. "I find their actions deplorable," he said.

"I can't believe he made that statement," Herrick said. "I think he should be spanked for a statement like that."

DISTRICT 34: House of Delegates

Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R)*

Age: 67.

Residence: McLean.

Education: BS, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Occupation: Self-employed editor and publisher.

Elected offices/civic activities: Delegate since 1968; chairman, Northern Virginia Community Foundation; trustee, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation; former president, Kiwanis Club of McLean; member, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin; former chairman, Virginia Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Family: Married; five children, 14 grandchildren.

Why should the voters elect you?

"As the dean of the Northern Virginia delegation to the General Assembly and co-chairman of the Appropriations Committee, the legislature's most important panel, I have played a leadership role to solve our transportation problems, reduce taxes, enhance our educational system, limit the size of state government, protect the environment, channel millions of dollars to our expanding Northern Virginia region and make state government responsive to the needs of all of the people. I offer my candidacy based on a proven record of legislative effectiveness and bipartisan leadership; a record that only seniority can bring."

What would you like voters to know about you?

"I am chief sponsor of legislative initiatives for new transportation funding, phasing out car and food taxes, and return of lottery proceeds to localities for school construction."

E-mail address: dcalla5475@aol.com

Carole L. Herrick (D)

Age: 58.

Residence: McLean.

Education: BA, history, Los Angeles State College.

Occupation: None.

Elected offices/civic activities: Vice chairman, Governing Board, McLean Community Center; president, McLean Chapter 839, AARP; president, Dranesville District Democratic Women's Club; board member, McLean Historical Society; board member, Trees and Transportation committees, McLean Citizens Association.

Family: Married; one child.

Why should the voters elect you?

"The 34th District needs an energetic, fresh approach to represent its citizens in Richmond and one that will listen to the views of all constituents, not just special interest groups. If elected, I will address immediate action to ease traffic congestion, curb the easy access to firearms, support reducing class size and fight for school construction and renovation. I will speak out against charter schools and vouchers. I will work to preserve Virginia's historic heritage, maintain existing trees, protect open space, limit the importation of out-of-state trash and push for sensible water use policies."

What would you like voters to know about you?

"After years of serving the people through numerous community organizations, I feel I can accomplish more for the area's constituency as an elected official in Richmond."

E-mail address: cherrick99@aol.com