The Maryland presidential campaign for Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole attempted yesterday to step up its visibility by holding a news conference to announce a full slate of candidates running as delegates to the Republican National Convention on the March 5 primary ballot.
Mr. Dole's state chairman, 1st District Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, presided over the assembly of 24 delegate candidates -- three for each of the state's eight congressional districts -- and other Republicans who gathered on the first floor of the State House for the event.
"You'll see a whole lot more Dole activities and more movement from the people up here," said Mr. Gilchrest, referring to the delegate candidates beside him, a group of GOP leaders from across the state.
Bolstered by Mr. Dole's lead in the polls -- nationally and in the state -- the campaign has not been as active in Maryland as that of Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, who has won at least nine straw polls around the state among Republican activists, many of them GOP central committee members.
Mr. Gramm's supporters got the jump on other campaigns by corralling conservative GOP activists and elected officials early on, mostly because of the grass-roots efforts of Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the 1994 GOP gubernatorial candidate who chairs Mr. Gramm's statewide campaign.
Nevertheless, Mr. Gilchrest predicted victory for the Kansas senator, saying, "We're very optimistic about Bob Dole being selected by the state of Maryland."
Neither Mr. Dole nor his wife, Elizabeth H. Dole, who broke her wrist Sunday after a spill in the snow, made it to the State House yesterday. Both were rumored earlier in the week as possibly making an appearance.
So far in this campaign, Mr. Dole has visited the state once, back in October, at the 1st Congressional District's Bull Roast, an annual GOP event in Centreville on the Eastern Shore. By contrast, Mr. Gramm, who has a vacation home on the Shore, has made numerous visits here.
In fact, Mr. Gramm is scheduled to visit Baltimore on Saturday, when he will formally announce his delegate slate.
"When we do press conferences, we actually have our candidate there," quipped John Lloyd, executive director of the Gramm campaign in Maryland.
Mr. Dole's delegate candidates in the primary are:
1st District -- Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest of Kent County; Cecil County Commissioner Oakley A. Sumpter Jr.; and Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary.
2nd District -- Del. James M. Harkins of Harford County; Sen. F. Vernon Boozer of Baltimore County; and Barbara Chinn of Towson.
3rd District -- Richard D. Bennett, former U.S. attorney; Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker; and Joan I. Athen of Columbia.
4th District -- Keith Poptanich of Adelphi; Patricia Faulkner of Silver Spring; and Herman B. Bouma of Takoma Park.
5th District -- Del. Phillip D. Bissett of Anne Arundel County; Donald J. Devine, a former Reagan personnel director and congressional candidate; and Prince George's County Councilwoman Audrey E. Scott.
6th District -- Sen. John W. Derr of Frederick County; Frostburg Mayor John N. Bambacus; and Sen. Christopher J. McCabe of Howard County.
tTC 7th District -- Victor Clark Jr., former Baltimore mayoral candidate now running for Congress; Kathleen Buffington of Baltimore; and Jackie Fleming of Baltimore.