In his fight for a seat in Congress, Joseph John Bish sought yesterday to chip away at the bedrock support for his main primary opponent, Democratic front-runner Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis.
At announcements in Dundalk, Towson and Harford County, Mr. Bish touted the endorsement of former County Councilman Donald C. Mason of Dundalk.
But Mrs. DeJuliis -- a former Dundalk delegate and resident -- said the endorsement means nothing.
With three weeks until the March 5 primary for Maryland's 2nd District seat, Mr. Bish is trying to expand his conservative Harford County base.
He is one of six Democrats running for the nomination; freshman Republican incumbent Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. faces three little-known challengers in his primary.
The 2nd District covers eastern Baltimore County, Harford County and a small portion of northern Anne Arundel County.
Known for his pro-gun, pro-business, anti-abortion platform, Mr. Bish appeared yesterday with Mr. Mason, who usually sided with Republicans while on the council from 1990-1994.
But other Dundalk politicians appear unwilling to back Mr. Bish against Mrs. DeJuliis, who finished second in the 1994 primary for the same nomination. Mr. Bish was a distant third.
County Councilman Louis L. DePazzo, a Dundalk Democrat, watched the announcement in front of North Point Government Center that houses his council offices. Mr. DePazzo introduced Mr. Bish at an Essex Democratic Club meeting last week. But the councilman said he has not endorsed Mr. Bish, a Westinghouse computer program analyst.
"It's a sticky wicket for me," he said. "Bob Ehrlich is a very close friend. I like Joe as a person."
State Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr. said he has detected no groundswell of support for Mr. Bish in Dundalk, and others in Dundalk and Essex echo that theme.
Mrs. DeJuliis has been endorsed by several of the largest and most influential Democratic clubs in Dundalk and Essex.
"I feel my support in Dundalk is very strong," she said. "Very strong."
But Mr. Bish, who carried Harford in 1994, remains optimistic.
His program, he said in Towson, is "jobs, jobs, jobs and not more government jobs."
"We've got to get the federal budget under control, protect Medicare and Medicaid from bankruptcy, keep Social Security solvent as conservatively as possible," he said.
Mr. Bish said he plans to begin radio advertising two weeks before the primary, and said his treasury is nearly $20,000, compared with $513 he spent in 1994.