WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Phil Meister was worried that not enough people would know he was running for the state House. But it turns out that everyone knows ''The Philmeister.''

And everyone wants one of the Philmeister's campaign signs. At least everyone who has seen the ''Saturday Night Live'' television skit in which Rob Schneider, playing Randy the dweeb, adds a meister or an o-rama or some other twist to everyone's name.

''When I saw his signs the first words out of my mouth were, 'The Philmeister 3/8' recalled Ilana Weiner, a senior at Hall High School. ''For anyone between 18 and 21, it's just a natural thing to say.''

Grabbing ''Elect Phil Meister'' campaign signs as souvenirs has also become a natural thing to do; about 30 have disappeared in recent weeks.

At first the Democratic party primary candidate thought some political skulduggery might be at work. But then the police caught a teen-ager taking a sign who explained the legend of the Philmeister.

Meister, who didn't press charges, is hoping the attention will boost his campaign against incumbent Miles S. Rapoport.

''When you're the challenge candidate, to get name recognition is by far the hardest thing,'' said Meister, 37. ''Now, people are coming up to me saying, 'I know you.'''