It was about 3 a.m. yesterday when D.C. Councilman David A. Clarke left a sandwich shop at 18th Street and Columbia Road and began walking home. As he reached 16th and Harvard streets NW, he said he sensed someone behind him and continued walking at a steady pace.

Clarke said that when he reached the walkway to his home at 3320 17th St. N.W, three men jumped him from behind, punched him in the face and stabbed him twice in the back. Clarke suffered superficial wounds to his back and was in good condition late yesterday at the Washington Hospital Center.

"It turned out good for me," said Clarke, a second term councilman who is chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

The 36-year-old councilmember said he believes the three men were planning to rob him. But as he scuffled with them and screamed for his wife. Carol, the three men fled. They took nothing.

Clarke, who stands 5' 5" and weighs about 250 pounds, said he "did not sense danger" as he walked home with the men behind him. As he walked, he heard someone mention his name, but he said he still didn't think too much of it since he is well-known to the area.

Clarke, a Democrat who represents the ward that includes Adams-Morgan said he attend the disco paty for Mayor Marion Barry at the Washington Hilton earlier, had stopped by Columbia Station, a popular nightspot at 1836 Columbia Rd. NW. and drank wine with friends until it closed shortly before 3 a.m.

Afterwards, he said, he walked across the street to Al Subpreme, a sandwich shop and picked up a cheeseburger and a newspaper.

Clarke said he walked four blocks up Columbia Road to 16th and Harvard Streets NW., when he sensed he was being followed.

As he continued for seven more blocks up Mount Pleasant Street to 17th Street, the footsteps were still behind him. "At one point I walked out in the street in order to avoid the snow. I don't know if they (the three men) walked in the street, too."

When he reached the front yard of his home, Clarke said, "I felt all right, I didn't think they were after me."

But the men jumped him. "I remembe thinking to myself or either saying, 'You wanna fight. "Come on.'"

He said he threw "some left jabs" at the three men. He also yelled twice for his wife. "I was trying to create noise. To create what I call 'command presence.'"

The men fled. Clarke banged on the front door to wake up his wife.

Carol Clarke, said later than she had not heard her husband's screams but did hear the banging on the door and thought it might be a constituent.

Clarke said it was only after his wife noticed blood on the back of his coat that he realized he had been stabbed.

She called the police and a neighbor, Richard Siagell, a D.C. city employe who lives across the street.

"I don't think this will change him at all," said his wife.

Clarke, who is very popular in Ward One, is often seen walking or riding his bicycle in the Adams-Morgan and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.

"David doesn't worry much (about being a victim of a crime)," said his wife. "He always feels confident."

Police late yesterday said they have no suspects in the stabbing.

Clarke, who has been a strong advocate of gun control, yesterday jokingly said he should now consider some type of "knife control."