Unlike previous political campaigns in the District, fund raising for the special City Council election on July 19 has been marked so far by few contributions by voters and little support from business interests for any of the 10 candidates for the single contested seat.
Instead, money has come largest in the form of contributions or loans by the candidates themselves, their relatives and friends and work associates, according to financial disclosure statements filed by the candidates with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
The candidates are seeking the at-large seat made vacant by the death of Julius Hobson Sr. (Statehrod Party) last March.
Among the major contenders, for example, independent candidate Susan Truitt, 40, a former television news reporter, has been biggest spender so far and has received an official total of $12,710 in contributions.
But $9,000 of that total is Truitt's own money which she gave or loaned to her election committee. Another $1,100 was given in separate contributions by Truitt's sister, her mother and her ex-husband's father.
In addition, 12 attorneys in the firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, where Truitt's present husband, Max, is also a lawyer, contributed a total of $750.
By contrast, Truitt has received few business contributions: $500 from the Mark IV disco establishment, another $500 from Douglas TV and $50 from Thornton W. Owen, board chairman of the Perpetual Federal Savings and Loan Association, the city's largest thrift institution.
Unlike the City Council campaigns in 1974 and 1976, neither Truitt nor the other candidates have received any visible support from the city's telephone and utilities companies, the liquor industry or the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.
"Our people went directly to some of the big money, but it wasn't forthcoming," Truitt said yesterday.
"I haven't seen any great surge of interest among businessmen this time," said one person familiar with the political activities of the Board of Trade.
He said most business owners feel that Hilda Mason, 61, former D.C. School Board member appointed to fill Hobson's seat until July 19 election, will win easily.
"She has a lot of endorsements," he said ". . . She's probably going to win, so why spend a lot of money?"
In 1974, when the city was granted its first election in 100 years under a new home rule charter and scores of candidates competed for the 13 Council seats and mayor's position, officials of savings and loan associations, Potomac Electric Power Co., C. & P. Telephone Co. and other businessmen poured thousands of dollars into various campaigns.
About 35 per cent of the contributions to Mayor Walter E. Washington's campaign came from members of the Board of Trade, the city's leading business organization. Thirteen per cent of the contributions to Washington's unsuccessful Democratic challenger, Clifford Alexander, also came from Board of Trade members.
Mason, like Truitt in this year's election has drawn chiefly on her own resources and those of her friends and relatives.
So far, she has received an official total of $10,997,85 in contributions and loans, but $5,000 of it is in the form of a loan by Mason to her election committee. She gave another $1,000 as a direct donation, and her husband, Charles, contributed $500.
Among other contributors to Mason's Statehood Party campaign were the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club ($250) and Morris Milgram, the Philadelphia housing developer who pioneered racially integrated housing in the late 1950s. He contributed $295.
Another major candidate running as an independent former D.C. School Superintendent Barbara A. Sizemore, 49, listed a total of $5,400.67 in receipts, most of them small contributions from educators and other academic persons.
Paul Hays, 31, the endorsed candidate of the D.C. Republican Party, reported $6,447.84 in contributions and loans so far.
More than $2,000 of that total was contributed by 25 members of the D.C. Republican Central Committee and other local GOP officials including D.C. Republican National Committee-woman Cecil G. Grand and Altenate National Committeeman Joseph P. McLaughlin.
Hays also received $50 from his mother and $25 from a cousin in Mississippi.