District of Columbia mayoral candidates Sterling Tucker and Marion Barry have both raised more than $50,000 for their Democratic primary campaigns and some of their support is coming from former backers of their chief opponent, incumbent Mayor Walter E. Washington.
While much of the $60,000 collected by City Council Chairman Tucker and $57,000 raised by council member Barry has been donated by long-time supporters of the two men, several contributors to both said in recent interviews that they had worked or voted for the mayor four years ago.
These supporters of Tucker and Barry - a few of whom have donated money to both candidates - frequently said that in 1974 they felt Washington deserved a chance to be the city's first elected mayor under home rule after serving seven years as the city's presidentially appointed mayor-commissioner.
With three established and well-known candidates running for the same office, there was bound to be some division of allegiances among people who previously were able to support Washington, Tucker and Barry when they ran for different offices. Some of the new Tucker and Barry supporters say they have become disenchanted with the mayor's performance, started to work for one of the other two candidates and donated money to them.
Local politicians estimate that between $150,000 and $250,000 is needed this year to run an adequate campaign, including the use of some radio and television advertising. In the brief political history of the District of Columba, most of the large campaign donations have been contributed by well-heeled corporate officials, doctors, lawyers, real estate interests, corporations and unions, while ordinary D.C. residents have made smaller donations.
The mayor, who told some potential political supporters at February's Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade dinner to "hang loose" before making any donations to other campaigns, is not expected to have any difficulty raising money, assuming he decides to run.
The mayor has hinted broadly on several recent occasions that he will seek another four-year term, but has made no official announcement. His supporters say they expect him to declare his candidacy for the Sept. 12 primary within two weeks.
Washington attorney Max Berry, who served on the mayor's 1974 campaign committee, now has signed on as Barry's campaign treasurer and donated the maximum amount allowed for each election under D.C. laws, $1,000.
Lawyer Berry said he is supporting candidate Barry in the belief that he "is the only person capable of changing the D.C. government for the better. The mayor has had an opportunity to change people and he hasn't."
Another Barry supporter, Bernard Walker, a line manager for the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co., said he supported Washington in 1974 because "he had put forth an effort" while serving as the appointed mayor.
But as Walker stood a few feet from the disco dancers at a Barry campaign gathering at the Fox Trappe club last week, he said he has been disappointed with the mayor and finds Tucker "a carbon copy" of Washington.
Michael Cady, the executive director of the District of Columbia Dental Society, said his group's political action committee has donated $1,000 to Tucker and $500 to Barry. "Sterling and Marion gave us their ear," he said, explaining why the group donated to both.
But But Cady said bluntly: "The mayor has not been a very concerned person for our needs We have invited him to a number of our events and he never once came."
He said the dentists donated more to Tucker because the group's board believes that he has a "better chance of winning." He also said that Tucker appeared before some of the society's members and promised to introduce a revised Dental Practice Act on the City Council. The measure, among other things, would make it tougher for foreign-trained dentists to establish a practice in the District of Columbia.
Another double contributor is Herbert Rothberg, the president of Central Liquor Store Inc., who has given $1,000 to both Barry and Tucker.
"They both have the interst of the District at heart," Rothberg said. "It's a shame they are running against each other."
While not ruling out making donation to the mayor, Rothberg made his sentiments in the race clear. "There has to be a turnaround, a dynamic turnaround. (Tucker and Barry) have a much more progressive, dynamic attitude (than the mayor)."
In terms of money, the single biggest group of contributors to Tucker's campaign is composed of members of the Howar construction and real estate investment family. Together, they have donated $6,750, more that 10 percent of Tucker's campaign treasury at the moment.
Raymond J. Howar, saying "I'm the one who knows what's going on in the District," called a family meeting within the last month to discuss to whom contributions should be made.
He said he talked to Barry before the family gathering and urged him to run for the City Council chairmanship. Howar said he concluded that Tucker would be the best "administrator and leader" for the city.
Howar dismissed possible support of Washington, saying, "The mayor is not fantastic person, but he has not taken an aggressive stance on anythings. I'm not impressed with his leadership."
Not all contributors are quite so open in explaining why they picked the candidate they did.
Washington real estate developer Oliver T. Carr Jr. gave the mayor's campaign $200 in 1974, but this year has given Tucker $1,000. He declined to say why, and when asked whether he also plans to contribute to the mayor's and Barry's campaigns, Carr told a reporter, "Have a great day, seee you later" and hung up.
Despite the amount of money raised by Tucker and Barry, the mayor and his supporters profess no concern about any effects that his delayed entry into the race may have on fund-raising.
"I have not seen anybody that's been overwhelmed with money, (from) what I've seen either in commitment or in cash," Washington said in a recent interview.
One long-time supporter, Washington Informer newspaper publisher Calvin W. Rolark, joked with the mayor at one gathering that he had "several pledges" in his pocket.
Meanwhile, long-time backers of the mayor in the taxicab industry are passing out campaign buttons with the mayor's picture "Draft/Re-elect This Honest Mayor."
Fred D. Matthews, president and general manager of the Globe Cab Co., said the buttons are telling voters that Washington has don "a job honestly and sincerely."
However, Rolark said the use of the word "honest" is hinting that Washington is "the only man running without a record." He said that is a reference to Barry's numerous minor runins with the law - none of which resulted in a felony conviction - during his days as a civil rights activist in the 1960s and Tucker's no contest plea to an early 1950s tax fraud charge.Tucker later was pardoned by President Johnson.
The mayor spent nearly $200,000 on his 1974 campaign, according to his official expense reports. That was the maximum amount that could be spent then, but the mayor's campaign may have exceeded it because of at least $6,000 in alleged secret and unreported campaign-related expenditure that were disclosed two years ago.
There now are no spending limits in effect, the Supreme Court having wiped out such restrictions in a 1976 ruling.
Tucker's campaign manager, Gerald Wallette, said "the minimum (this year) will have to be what the mayor spent last time . . . and more if we can" raise it. Barry's manager, Ivanhoe Donaldson, said his campaign hopes to have a kitty of between $150,000 to $200,000.
Both Wallette and Donaldson said that raising money has by no means been easy this year, but that the mailman drops off more donations each day.
Tucker has been especially successful in garnering maximum $1,000 donations, a total of 32 by last week. By contrast, Barry has only nine $1,000 donations.
Many of the Tucker's $1,000 donations have come from lawyers and real estate interests, two groups who contributed heavily to Mayor Washington in 1974.
Donaldson scoffed at such large contributions to Tucker, saying, "Marion is more reflective of the renters and home owners than the commercial sector. Marion is a maverick.
"He historically comes from an activist background. He's not really their cup of tea," he said.
"We may not raise as much money," said Barry campaign treasurer Berry, "but we'll raise from the most people." CAPTION: Picture 1, MARION BARRY . . . fund now $57,000; Picture 2, STERLING TUCKER . . . raises $60,000; Picture 3, WALTER WASHINGTON . . . still unannounced