John M. (Jack) Thornton, a leader in efforts to keep utility costs down, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Ward 5 seat on the D.C. City Council.

At least 12 persons including incumbent William R. Spaulding, have taken out petitions to run for the seat in the Sept. 12 primary election.

Thornton is the first blind person to announce a council candidacy.

As chairman of the Metro Coalition on the Utility Crisis, Thornton claims credit for leading a fight against higher electric and gas rates in the city.

In addition, he is a member of the Citywide Housing Coalition, chairman of the zoning committee of the Queens Chapel Civic Association and chairman of the speakers bureau of the Gray Panthers, a senior citizen group. He is a former member of the D.C. Democratic Central Committee.

Thornton, a former officer of the United Steelworkers of America, was a founder of the National Afro-American Labor Council, and remains an active member.

In his announcement, Thornton sharply attacked Spaulding, contending the incumbent has done nothing to promote the welfare of Ward 5, which includes most of Northeast Washington that is on the west bank of the Anacostia River.