Democrat Henry E. Howell today reported $306,000 in contributions to his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, two-thirds of it from a fundraiser with President Carter and large gifts by unions, corporations and wealthy individuals.

Howell, 57, has sought statewide office four times since 1969 as a consumer advocate running on a populist platform, but in the past has relied more than most Virginia candidates on large donations by unions and individuals.

He is making his first race for governor as a Democrat - he ran as an independent in 1973 - but the party nomination apparently has not significantly broadened his contribution base. Only 12 per cent of the total donations reported today came in gifts of less than $100.

Howell released his report in Richmond a day before all candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates are required by state law to disclose contributions and spending thus far in their campaigns for the Nov. 8 general election.

Howell's first general election report brings his total contributions for this campaign, including the June Democratic primary to more than $700,000. His Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. John N. Dalton, is expected on uesday to report total campaign contributions and loans of about $1 million. Dalton was nominated in a party convention.

Howell's spending report shows that his general election campaign is in the black and has paid off most of his primary campaign debt, but it has only about $27,000 in hand as it entered the last month of the race. Heavy expenditures for radio, television and newspaper advertising normally are incurred in the last month of major political campaigns.

Howell's expenses and unpaid bills during the first general election reporting period which began Aug. 9, totaled $310,000. This total exceeded contributions by about $4,0000, but a transfer of more than than $30,000 from the primary campaign fund covered the deficit and provided the balance on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Howell received $40.000 from a fund-raising dinner that president Carter attended in Williamsburg on Sept. 24. Each of the two other Democratic statewide candidates are to receive $10,000 from the dinner. Tickets to the fund raiser cost $5000.

Howell was an early supporter of Carter's presidential candidacy and the President has said that he puts a high priority on Howell's election.

Labour unions contributed more than $51,000 to Howell during the period covered by the report and more than $39,000 of that total came in 20 gifts of $1,000 or more.

Howell, an attorney, represents labor unions and has championed their political causes as well. Union contributions to his campaign this year, however, are well below the level of 1973.

Howell reported 41 contributions of $1,000 or more from corporations and individuals. These donations totaled $111,000.

Southwest Virginia coal companies, which gave more than $50,000 to Howell's primary campaign, have contributed another $22,000 in this race. Howell has opposed proposals to tax newly mined coal and efforts to tighten strip-mine controls.

The largest single donor to Howell again was Best Products Co. founder Sydney Lewis of Richmond. Lewis, a philanthropist and supporter of liberal politicians, has added $42,333 to the $20,000 that he gave Howell before the primary.

Other large gifts came from H. R. Humphrevs, head of a Nothern Neck fishing company, who gave $8,250 in his name and in the name of his companies, and John D. Schrott, a Mc-Lean furniture executive, who gave $6,500.

Howe 11's listed expenditures included $55,000 to pay off primary campaign debts, $76,000 for staff salaries and expenses since Aug. 9, $42,000 to the firm that directs his telephone canvassing and $25,000 to Gerald Rafshoon, the advertising man who produced Carter's media campaign and does the same for Howell.

Howell's payment to Rafshoon and his telephone consultants have now his telephone consultants have now totaled more than $130,000 for the campaign, including the primary. He did not have enough money to use many of the Rafshoon-produced television spots before the primary, but the telephone canvassing by the Howell campaign was effective and considered by some to have been crucialin turning out his primary vote.