A RUMOR WAS circulating in Columbus, Ohio, last week that Evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton was going to come there to testify in behalf of Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt in the $80 million lawsuit brought against him by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione.

She isn't.

Stapleton says she told Flynt when he telephoned that she did not want to get involved.

Flynt wanted her to testify that his conversion to Christianity was genuine.

Stapleton is very sensitive to any potential embarrassment to her brother in an election year.

Stapleton said last week she thinks someone may have already played a political "dirty trick" on her. She was told recently that a religious magazine has linked her to the "Moonie" followers of the Rev. Moon.

One church wanted to cancel a scheduled apperance by her, she said, until she demanded "an apology" from the minister.

"I don't even know any Moonies," she said.

The editor of the Frankfort State Journal in Kentucky's state capital, former Scripps-Howard newsman Carl West, says that the voters who elected John Y. Brown governor "are in love" with his wife, Phyllis George, proclaiming her a "combination Martha Mitchell, Elizabeth Taylor and Jack Kennedy."

The public bean grumbling a bit when the governor started talking about buying a Learjet and spending $1-to-$2 million to fix up the falling-down gubernatorial mansion, which Phyllis claims is not only esthetically uninhabitable but probably unsafe as well. Hardly anyone disputed that both expenditures can be justified, even in a state that is operating with a $138 million deficit this year and a projected deficit of $56 million this fiscal year.

There was ciriticism last week, however, when Kentuckians learned that the Browns had spent $3,000 on a party given here last Sunday for about 150 people during the Governors' Conference.

The Frankfort State Journal ran a three-column account of the party on its front page along with a story that pointed out that "4,951 state employes earn salaries below the poverty level of $6,700 a year" and "3,468 state employes earn less than the $3.35 federal minimum wage."

Former representative Wilbur Mills went to Florida recently to raise money for the Palm Beach Institute Foundation, the alcoholism rehabilitation center which is best known for drying out "Big Ruby" Folsom Austin, mother of Cornelia Wallace.Mills says he and "Big Ruby" didn't spend too much time that night talking about staying sober. "She's more interested in having me find her a husband," said Mills of the 66-year-old Folsom. "She got her eye on Claude Pepper [the 79-year-old Democratic representative from Florida], but I keep telling her Claude is too old for her."

Television fans of "Dallas" wouldn't have any difficulty envisioning the villainy the infamous "J. R." could perpetrate if he got elected to Congress. So it was inevitable that one of the studios in Hollywood would hire a writer to very quietly case Washington, D.C., for a similar nighttime soap opera to be set in the nation's capital.

Former Washington Star publisher Joe Albritton's house is almost finished after three years of remodeling. He recently asked his construction foreman for a photograph, saying "You've been here so long I feel like I've adpoted you."

With the price of silver, a lot of brides may follow the example of Walter Cronkite's daughter Kathy. She picked out china and crystal patterns for family friends who wanted to send gifts when she got married earlier this month. But flatwear, so exensive now that a single piece can run hundreds of dollars, was omitted.

New York jeweler Seaman Schepps first started making his earrings out of Philippine Island turbo sea shells 20 years ago. Bracketed in gold with precious or semi-precious stones, the earrings have sold in the thousands at $500-600 a pair. So it isn't surprising that three pairs showed up at one party in New York the other night on the earlobes of CBS president Bill Leonard's wife and two of her friends.