Buoyed by a record flood of Virginia political contributions from both big and small givers, Republican gubernatorial nominee John N. Dalton is continuing to outdistance Democrat Henry E. Howell in campaign fund raising, according to disclosure reports filed today.
Through last Saturday. Dalton had raised and spent about $1.6 million for the campaign that ends with the election next Tuesday. For the same period Howell, making his third party try for the governorship, had raised and spent about $700,000 for the general election campaign. He spent about $400,000 during the Democratic primary campaign for an election year total of $1.1 million.
Dalton's and Howell's combined spending of $2.7 million, along with the more than $1 million that was spent by former Attorney General Andrew P. Miller in his unsuccessful Democratic primary race this year, means that a record $3.75 million already has been spent on this year's gubernatorial race.
Dalton's list of big contributors continued to read like a directory of the Virginia business establishment. A central theme of Howell's 15 years as a statewide political figure has been attacks on the "big boys" of Virginia business, especially banks, insurance companies and utilities.
After the first filing of financial reports by the candidates last month. Howell said that Dalton had received $180,000, 15 per cent of his total donations from persons involved in "interlocking economic interests" linked to the state's largest utility, Virginia Electric and Power Co.
Although Dalton continued to get support from business figures during the last reporting period Oct. 5 through 29, his contributions from small givers, those donating less than $100, also continued to outstrip Howell. The poplist-style Democrat still relied more heavily than his Republican foe on large donations. many of them from labor unions and a handful of wealthy business owners.
About 31 per cent of the money contributed to Dalton has come in gifts of less than $100. Only about 15 per cent of the money contributed to Howell since the primary has come in donations of less than $100.
The Dalton campaign reported a cumulative total of 15.530 contributors to the Republican candidate, also a record for a Virginia political race.Dalton campaign manager William A. Royall said he believes that no other candidate for state office in the nation has received contributions from so many individuals.
The small contributions to Dalton have been achieved through effective direct mail solicitations. Howell only recently has tried to reach small givers through direct mail.
Today's reports showed that the pace of contributions to the Democrat have picked up in recent weeks, but still is far short of the flow of funds to Dalton. In the 25 days covered by the disclosure statement, the Democrat received an average of $11.800 a day. Dalton averaged $18.600 a day.
Howell's contributions from labor unions during the period covered by the general election reports now total about $97,000. This puts his labor union total for the election year, including the primary, above $150,000, or about 15 per cent of his total.
Howell's report also discloses the single largest contributor to this year's campaign, Richmond retailer Sydney Lewis. Lewis, founder of Best Products Co. and a longtime Howell supporter has given the Democrat $52,000 this fall. He gave another $20,000 during the primary campaign.
Howell has received $60.000 from a $1.000 - a couple dinner in Williamsburg on Sept. 24 that was attended by President Carter. His Democratic running mates. Charles S. (Chuck) Robb, the candidate for lietenant governor, and Edward E. Lane, the candidate for attorney general, each received $14.000 from the dinner.
During the last 10 days of the campaign, candidates must continue to report gifts and expenditures of more than $1,000. Dalton reported $15,689 in such gifts on Oct. 31, the first day covered by the 10-day rule. One of these was $7,500 from Anheuser-Beach, Inc., the beer company with a brewery in Williamsburg. The firm also has contributed to Howell through the purchase of tickets to the Carter dinner.
It seems likely that Dalton's final spending total will reach $1.8 million. The previous record for spending in a Virginia campaign was $1.1 million spent by Gov. Mills E. Godwin in 1973 when he defeated Howell.
Financial disclosures by the attorney general candidates showed tht Republican J. Marshall Coleman of Staunton has raised and spent about $245.000. Democrat Lane has raised and spent about $116.000 this fall. Added to his primary spending, his election year total is about $261,000.
Coleman appears to have a significant edge over Lane in television and radio spending. He lists $141.535 in payments to a Richmond advertising firm for media purchases. Lane campaign manager Paul Goldman said that this indicates Coleman will spend four times as much as Lane on advertising.
Democrat Robb listed $191.000 in loans and contributions and $193.000 in spending and unpaid obligations. Robb spent more than $400.000 in winning the Democratic primary. The report of the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, A. Joe Canada of Virginia Beach, was not received at the state Board of Elections today. It must be postmarked today to comply with state law.