Coal and trucking interests have poured more than $215,000 into the Democratic gubernatorial campaign of former Virginia Attorney General Andrew P. Miller and have accounted for about one-third of his record primary campaign contribution of $699,008.
The figures, contained in a contribution and spending disclosure report filed with the state Board of Elections today, showed that Miller has taken in almost three times as much money in political gifts as his opponent in the June 14 primary, former Lt. Gov. Henry E. Howell.
Howell also has relied heavily on a few individuals and interest groups. About $110,000 of the $240,869 in out-right contributions he reported last week were given by labor unions, coal operators and Best Products Co. founders Sydney and Frances Lewis of Richmond.
In addition to large contributions from coal operators and truck line owners and executives, big gifts by other business interests also were reported by the Miller campaign.
Miller received $10,287 in Best Co. stock from the Lewises, $10,000 from the Virginia Committee for Political Action (milk producers), $5,000 from Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Charlottesville, $5,000 from Standard Products of Kilmarnock (a Menhaden fishing company), $6,000 from Smithfield Packing Co. and numerous other smaller business gifts.
Miller's campaign manager, Walter A. Marston, acknowledged that the former attorney general is waging the best-financed primary campaign ever in Virginia, but he labeled Howell as the "biggest spender in Virginia political history," counting total spending for Howell's four statewide races.
Marston said Howell's three previous statewide campaigns for lieutenant governor and governor, including a 1973 race in which he spent about $1 million, has given him exposure through advertising that Miller has had to try to match in this campaign.
Marston said the Miler campaign through May 10, the end of the period covered by his report today, had spent about $100,000 on radio and television advertising, about $65,000 of that on television.
Despite its spectacular fund-raising success, the Miller campaign had only $4,684 in cash against $25,000 in unpaid loans and $39,511 in unpaid bills. Spending totaled $719,323. Loans to the campaign totaled $39,000, of which $14,000 has been repaid.
The Miler report confirmed recent estimates by campaign officials that coal industry contributions to Virginia statewide office seekers have exceeded $200,000 so far and probably will reach the $400,000 mark before the Nov. 8 general election. This would be the largest outpouring of political money from a single industry or labor union group ever in Virginia.
Large coal gifts spotted on the Miller report after it was filed late today totaled $154,050. Howell has received more than $41,000 in coal contributions and smaller amount have gone to others among to the nine Democrats seeking nominations to three statewide offices.
Republican Lt. Gov. John N. Dalton, unopposed for his party's nomination for governor, also has been raising money in the coal fields of Southwest Virginia, but will not have to disclose them until October.
Miller's reliance on coal industry contributions - they amounted to at least 22 per cent of his total - was expected. The size of the trucking interest contributions - at least $61,000 in big gifts, or about 9 per cent of the total - was somewhat of a surprise.
"We have enthusiastic supports who are truckers," Marston said.
Coal operators already have received strong support from Miller, Howell and other candidates in their opposition to strict strip mining regulations, higher coal mining taxes and repeal of the state law banning compulsory union membership.
Miller was touring the coal field counties as his report was being released and Howell is scheduled to spend two days in the coal region later this week.
Truck lines are heavily regulated by the state and are the strongest advocates of the state's highway construction program.