Republican gubernatorial nominee John N. Dalton today reported record Virginia political campaign contributions and spending of about $1.2 million.

The state-required disclosure of contributions through Oct. 4 shows that Dalton has far outdistanced Democratic candidate Henry E. Howell in both large and small donations. Howell has collected and spent about $750,000, but he used more than that amount for his party primary campaign earlier this year. Dalton was nominated at a convention.

Although the Dalton report shows him to be less dependent on large contributors than Howell, it includes many of the best known names in Virginia's big business establishment. Some of them are officers and directors of the large banks and utilities that have been the objects of Howell's populist political attacks for more than 10 years.

The top executives of the state's two largest banking institutions - W. Wright Harrison of Virginia National Bank and J. Harvie Wilkinsen Jr. of United Virginia Bank - each gave the Republican $1,000.

Lee C. Tait, president of the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., gave $450 and J. D. DeButts, chairman of the American Telephone and Telegraph Co., gave $1,000.

Contributors connected directly or by family with the Virginia Electric and Power Co., principal target of Howell's consumer rhetoric, include:

Whitney Stone, Vepco's largest individual stockholder ($2,000); R. R. Smith, president of Smith's Transfer Co. and a Vepco director ($5,000); E. Claiborne Robins, chairman of A. H. Robins Co. and a Vepco director ($3,000); John W. Riely, a partner in the prestigious Richmond law firm of Hunton, Williams, Gay and Gibsen, which represents both C&P and Vepco in rate cases, ($200); and Mrs. Stanley P. Ragone, wife of Vepco's executive vice president ($200).

Other big business givers included Bruce Gottwald, chairman of the Ethyl Corp. ($3,700) and T. Marshall Hahn, president of the Georgia Pacific Co. and former president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VPI) ($1,000). Georgia Pacific donated $5,000 in corporate funds.

Virginia law permits political contributions by both labor unions and corporations. Howell, a lawyer who represents union clients, has been heavily supported in this and past campaigns by union contributions.

In addition to the donations of leading business figures, Dalton also received heavy contributions from such conservative groups as the political action committees of the Virginia Medical Society ($15,000); Americans Against Union Control of Government ($5,000); the Virginia Dental Society ($4,000); the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association ($14,000), and Virginia milk producers ($10,000).

The largest gift from individuals was $13,000 from the Richmond railroad and hotel heirs, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Lewis.

By coincidence, Howell's biggest individual benefactors also are Richmonders named Lewis, and though they are not related, Best Product Co. founders Sydney and Frances Lewis gave Howell $20,000 during his primary campaign and $24,000 for his general election race.

Lawrence Lewis also has lent the Dalton campaign $100,000. Dalton himself has donated $5,000 and lent his campaign another $85,000. Smaller loans bring his current campaign debt to $210,000.

Despite the array of well-known business figures on the Dalton con-shows that he has been less reliant than Howell on big gifts and far more successful than the Democrat in raising money from small donors.

Gifts of less than $100 made up about 32 per cent of Dalton's total contributions. Howell's first general election report, released yesterday, shows he is getting only 12 per cent of his total from donors of less than $100.

In fact, Dalton's total of $330,000 from these small givers exceeded Howell's total general election contributions, large and small, by $24,000.

About 40 per cent of Dalton's total came from gifts of more than $1,000, compared to about 50 per cent for Howell.

None of the Democratic or Republican candidates for lieutenant governor or attorney general reported anywhere near the level of financial support Dalton disclosed. In fact, the largest single gifts Dalton's two running mates reported, $40,000 each, came from Dalton's treasury.

State Sen. A. Joe Canada of Virginia Beach, the GOP's nominee for lieutenant governor, also said in his report that the Rosslyn-based National Conservative Political Action Committee, which sponsored a controversial anti-Howe mailing under Rep. J. Kenneth Robinson's (R-Va.) congressional letterhead, had given his financial support. Even so, Canada's $108,338.39 in contributions still trailed the amount his Democratic opponent Charles S. (Chuck) Robb of McLean is expected to report Wednesday.

Robb's report, covering the period from July 5 to Oct. 4, was not filed today, but a spokesman for Robb said the report will show that he has raised $113,128.69 and spent $120,458.74 in the period. That is in addition to his previously reported spending for the June 14 Democratic primary.

Canada listed expenditures of $134,226.24 and said the conservative political action group had paid a $920.61 telephone bill for him, a $236 travel bill and had given him "professional" services valued at $139.81 and office space valued at $167.75.

The Democratic nominee for attorney general, Edward E. Lane of Richmond, reported collecting $71,696.06 in the period July 13 to Oct. 4, mostly from a number of well-known Virginia conservatives. His Republican opponent, State Sen. J. Marshall Coleman of Staunton, listed contributions totaling $125,037.14 and loans of $32,772, but Coleman's report covered the period November, 1976, to Oct. 4, making comparison between the two reports difficult.

Coleman listed expenditures of $157,800.02, and like Canada, had a $5,000 donation from the Republican National Committee as his second-largest gift. Lane's largest donation was $10,000 from a Williamsburg fund-raiser President Carter attended Sept. 24. Richmond merchant and philantrophist Sydney Lewis, a frequent contributor to the campaigns of liberal Democrats, gave the conservative Lane $6,084.40, his report said.