Secretary of State John T. Willis announced yesterday that at least nine Republican candidates would appear on the ballot for Maryland's March 5 presidential primary election -- the most in state history.
Citing state law, Mr. Willis explained that the decision to put the nine names on the ballot stemmed from his belief that all "are generally advocated or recognized in the news media throughout the United States or in Maryland as presidential contenders."
The nine on Mr. Willis' preliminary list are:
* Lamar Alexander, former Tennessee governor and President Bush's education secretary.
* Patrick J. Buchanan, conservative commentator from Virginia.
* Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas.
* Rep. Robert K. Dornan of California.
* Malcolm S. "Steve" Forbes Jr., millionaire publisher of New Jersey.
* Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas.
* Alan L. Keyes, radio talk-show host and Reagan administration official from Montgomery County.
* Sen. Richard G. Lugar of Indiana.
* Maurice "Morry" Taylor Jr., tire magnate and industrialist from Illinois.
The filing deadline for the presidential primary is Tuesday, when Mr. Willis will issue the final list of GOP contenders in the Maryland primary.
The Democratic presidential primary candidates will be formally announced Jan. 2.