The D.C. Democratic mayoral primary campaigns of Mayor Walter E. Washington and City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker are both heavily in debt, while City Councilman Marion Barry's is barely solvent, according to campaign finance reports released yesterday.
Tucker's campaign has spent nearly $255,000, but as of last Saturday had raised only $208,116, a deficit of nearly $47,000, according to a report filed with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics.
Meanwhile, the mayor's campaign reported that it has raised $130,502 and spent or incurred obligations totaling $150,837, leaving the mayor's campaign with an overall deficit of $20,335, according to its report.
Barry, the third principal contender in the Sept. 12 primary, reported that his campaign has raised $182,697 so far and spent all but $3,757 of that. However, the Barry campaign reported it, too, has unspecified unpaid obligations that would reduce its available cash on hand. The Barry campaign later said that the obligations total about $2,700 at the moment.
Despite the deficits, both the Tucker and Washington campaigns said they fully expect to meet their expenses by election day or shortly thereafter.
"We feel we're going to make that up," said Tucker spokesman Sherwood Ross. "The rate of [Tucker campaign contributions] seems to be picking up" from the $1,000-a-day pace the Tucker campaign maintained through the last finance reporting date, June 10. The Tucker campaign collected $80,065 in the last two months, according to its report.
"We're right on target in terms of our activities, our radio and television [advertising] buys," Ross said. "We've done more than the other candidates and we expect to keep it up."
Lacy Streeter, Washington's campaign manager, said his campaign's deficit stems in part from obligations that are not payable until later in the campaign. He said he was pleased with the Washington campaign's fund raising in the last two months, a total of $104,565, more than either Tucker or Barry.
The latest contribution reports show that both Tucker and Washington are receiving large contributions from some of the city's most prominent business executives, while Washington also received nearly $14,000 from a variety of labor unions since June 10.
Barry, who frequently has campaigned as the "people's candidate," reported receiving far more contributions than either Tucker or Barry, but most of them were under $50. Barry has also received donations from business officials, but usually in smaller amounts than his two rivals.
Washington reported receiving 33 contributions of $1,000 or more, Tucker 19 such contributions and Barry nine.
Many of the city's corporate officials have contributed to all three campaigns, a move some executives have said is designed to show a corporate presence to the new mayor, no matter who it is. A host of polls have shown the campaign is exceedingly close, making it difficult for a contributor to donate money only to one candidate with any kind of assurance that he will eventually win.
Milton L. Ellsberg, the president of the Drug Fair chain of drug stores, contributed $500 to Tucker's and Washington's campaign and $100 to Barry's. The Shannon & Luchs real estate firm or a political action committee of its executives contributed $1,000 to all three campaigns. The Washington D.C. Area Trucking Association Inc, gave $1,000 to all three candidates.
Among Tucker large contributors were Giant Foods' chief Joseph B. Danzansky and his wife, Ethel, each of whom gave $1,000; Edwin K. Hoffman, president of the Woodward & Lothrop department store chain, $1,000; and realtor Peter Calomiris, also a $1,000 contributor.
Washington got maximum $2,000 contributions from the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Seafarers Union and AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education.
In addition, the mayor received donations from numerous D.C. government employes, including $300 from city personnel director George R. Harrod and $500 from Herbert L. Tucker, director of the Department of Environmental Services.
All three campaigns have spent heavily for political advice from consulting firms, preparation of radio and television advertisements and placement of the ads at numerous local stations.
Tucker reported spending $27,600 for television advertising spots, most of which went for the showing of a 4 1/2-minute minidocumentary on the candidate. Among its debts, the Tucker campaign reported owing Tucker himself $2,000 and its political consultant, Bailey Deardourff & Associates, $11,540.
The mayor reported spending $45,000 on a variety of consulting and media services, while Barry listed expenditures of $20,500 with Abramson-Himmelfarb, its media consultant.
Another mayoral candidate, Dorothy Maultsby, reported raising $3,498 and spending $3,411, while no report was received from John L. Ray.
Councilman Arrington Dixon, running for the council chairmanship, reported contributions of $77,753, much of it from the city's opponent, Councilishment. His chief opponent, Councilman Douglas E. Moore, had not filed his report late yesterday.