J. Joseph Curran Jr., Maryland's Democratic attorney general and governor wannabe, worked the big Timonium fund-raiser crowd in his relaxed, friendly style.
Dale Anderson, the former Baltimore County executive and Democratic party leader, munched hors d'oeuvres with his wife, Doris, as they greeted old friends.
James A. Pine, who led the county's once-dominant east-side Democratic organization, did the same.
Once bitter political enemies of anything that smacked of the GOP, these and a host of other Democrats appeared more than willing to forget the old partisan wars and turn out Wednesday for County Executive Roger B. Hayden and his brand of almost non-partisan Republicanism.
"Hey, two-thirds of the people there were Democrats," said state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, another Democrat in attendance.
"Every four years I get partisan," he added. "People are sick and tired of hearing that [partisan bickering]."
There were traditional Republican names, to be sure, including Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, the eastern county's congresswoman and a longtime Hayden supporter; U.S. Attorney Richard D. Bennett, a former county Republican Party chairman; Jervis S. Finney, a former state senator and U.S. attorney, and state Sen. Vernon F. Boozer.
But the event was hardly a launching pad for the GOP agenda. This may not be surprising, since Mr. Hayden was himself a nominal Democrat until he decided to run for office in 1990.
The huge Maryland State Fair exhibition hall was adorned with large Hayden signs, but not one advertising the Bush/Quayle presidential campaign. Mrs. Bentley was the only politician who made a public partisan remark, as she predicted a victory for President Bush and claimed credit for herself and Mr. Bennett for backing Mr. Hayden in 1990.
Introduced by Chuck Jackson, the county's new director of communications and emcee of the event, Mr. Hayden never mentioned his political aspirations or even his party affiliation in his brief remarks.
He merely reassured his contributors that the county will survive its current budget crunch. "We'll get through this crisis and come out of it flying," he declared.
The executive said Mr. Jackson "volunteered" to act as announcer at the campaign event on his own time. Ironically, during the 1990 campaign, Mr. Hayden complained that Robert W. Hughes, who held the same post under former executive Dennis F. Rasmussen, was politicizing his job as spokesman for the county and using the office to promote his boss.
jTC The executive's annual fund-raiser drew a large crowd in a tough fund-raising year, according to James M. Anders Jr., Mr. Hayden's treasurer. He said 2,500 tickets were sold at $50 each, producing a net, after expenses, of $90,000 to $100,000. That boosts Mr. Hayden's funds to $250,000 -- with two years to go before the 1994 elections.
Mr. Curran, who worked the crowd with a blue "Hayden" sticker on his lapel, said "I'm just a Democrat who's been let in to see some friends." Asked if he's running for governor, he said "That's a very appealing option."