Former City Council chairman Sterling Tucker released yesterday the names of 201 persons who, he said, support his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for mayor, and said he will unveil his campaign structure and strategy next month.
The list included some who played a key role in Tucker's 1978 campaign, which he lost by only 1,500 votes. It was equally notable for the absence of many lawyers, businessmen and clergy who had supported Tucker four years ago, some of whom now say they have not yet made up their minds or have already thrown their support to other candidates.
Tucker said his list of supporters was a partial one that could have included "2,001 names instead of 201." He said he is still working to organize support among the clergy and physicans.
Tucker said he has not yet raised any campaign funds, but that he has pledges from supporters on his finance committee to raise $250,000.
Much of yesterday's press conference was devoted to disputing a story in Monday's editions of The Washington Post, which, based on interviews with Tucker and others, reported his difficulties in putting together a campaign this year.
He released a letter he sent to Donald E. Graham, publisher of The Washington Post, and to Benjamin C. Bradlee, the paper's executive editor, criticizing the story and the role that The Post played in the 1978 campaign, in which it had endorsed Marion Barry, who subsequently was elected.
"In 1978 The Post practically took over the campaign of the incumbent Barry in the final weeks of the campaign," Tucker said yesterday. "This time they want to totally control the campaign from the very beginning. Clearly, Sterling Tucker is not a candidate The Post hopes is successful in this campaign."
In his letter, Tucker asserted that the Monday story should have included his statements to the effect that 25 of his supporters planned to raise $250,000 and that 87 percent of his 1978 supporters are again backing his candidacy.
"The principal thrust of the article was that there was no support for a Tucker mayoral candidacy," he wrote. "Clearly if The Post used all relevant facts available to it, that thrust would have been rendered invalid. I believe the action by The Post, in this instance to be unethical. I can only speculate as to the intended purpose of such an article."
Tucker wrote further that the article was published in Monday's editions "in violation of a clear and definite agreement" he had with the reporter that no story would appear until after Tucker had met with his campaign organization later that day and had released names of his supporters.
David Maraniss, The Post's assistant managing editor for metropolitan news, said yesterday he was satisfied that there had been no such agreement and that The Post stands by the story.
Tucker's list of supporters included lawyer R. Kenneth Mundy; Ward 1 Democratic leader Jerry Cooper, of the city's Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board; Harold Bobys, an accountant with Alexander Grant & Co.; Benjamin Henley, former D.C. school superintendent, and Lee Carty, Tucker's deputy campaign manager in 1978.