LITTLE DID WE know--until we read today's letter to the editor from Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Paul S. Clark--how easy it is to manipulate, intimidate, rearrange, sway and manage the political candidates as well as voters of the county. All it takes is one editorial suggesting that any "would-be opponents" of the incumbent county executive might best change the campaign subject to something other than unsubstantiated insinuations of political corruption in the administration of Charles W. Gilchrist. That, according to the Republican chairman's assessment, was enough to scare off David Lee Scull from challenging fellow Democrat Gilchrist.

If this assessment (whether it's non-, bi-, or just plain partisan) is correct, that's one campaign that must not have had very much going for it; besides, after you brush aside any GOP crocodilian tears for Mr. Scull, to assert that candidates have been intimidated or voters swayed this easily is to assume a bit much about the gullibility of Montgomery County's residents.

That our comments appeared "just hours before" Mr. Scull's withdrawal was--honest--pure coincidence, since word of the scheduled announcement (or non-announcement) by Mr. Scull hadn't reached our corner of the building before the editorial was printed. Come to think of it, it wouldn't have mattered what day we had selected because, according to Chairman Clark, our "warning" would have been just as "suspect."

But what, if we may ask, is so peculiar or wrong or "intimidating" about saying, after nearly two years of official investigations hat have turned up nothing illegal , that we fail to see a scandal? Should that "intimidate" someone from citing evidence, if there is any, to the contrary. Surely, if there has been corruption or serious wrongdoing, anyone who so knows and can make the case should--loud and clear.

As we tried to suggest in this space last Friday, "the campaign is young and the options best kept open until more is seen and heard from the field" of candidates. Or is that all there is?