FOR THOSE MARYLANDERS who still are not running for some political office next year, it's time for another report on the scramble to succeed Mac Mathias in the Senate. While Democrats are waiting to see which of many candidates from their party might drop out, Republicans are looking around to find out who might drop in: at this point the GOP talent-seekers have a rather wide opening for the job of party nominee. As Post staff writers Sandra Sugawara and Michel McQueen have reported, there have been many "flirtations" between Republican officials and potential contestants but no major commitments. Granted the Democrats have a 3-to-1 registration advantage in Maryland, but surely the state's Republican Party recruiters won't be forced to forfeit the genera-election contest next November.

Still, the people approached in one way or another so far have not exactly leaped into the fray. There was former representative Gilbert Gude, for example, who succeeded Mr. Mathias in the House with great success. When news broke that Mr. Gude was retiring from his current job, GOP recruiters hoped they had a winner. But Mr. Gude said he planned to write a book about small-town life along the Potomac River. Former U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and columnist George Will also resisted approaches. The Republicans tried the sports world, also to no avail: former Baltimore Oriole Brooks Robinson and former Colts quarterback John Unitas were on this list. Other Maryland residents mentioned have included poultry executive Frank Perdue; U.S. Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole (if she happened to move into the state from the District); former Office of Personnel Management head Donald Devine; former U.S. attorney George Beall; Kingdon Gould, developer and former ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg; Jan Scruggs, Vietnam Veterans Memorial founder; and state Del. Thomas Mooney of Prince George's County, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party this fall. White House public liaison director Linda Chavez reportedly is weighing the possibility of running.

The party's talent-hunters note that the campaign year is still young, even if 1986 is about to begin. With one good hat in the ring, they won't have to throw in the towel. Where's the hat?