When Ed Koch ran for reelection as mayor of New York in 1980, he had a paid staff of 15, with perhaps 10 part-timers working telephone banks. In Atlanta last year, Andrew Young made it through a tough mayor's race with 15 people on his payroll, and another 10 or so working the phones.
This year in Washington, according to official reports filed Tuesday, incumbent Marion Barry has a total campaign payroll of 76 -- including about 50 full-time and part-time staffers and about another 25 on his telephone bank.
It is one of the largest payrolls ever for a local political race in an American city, several political consultants and politicans said yesterday. The campaign professionals estimated that the average paid staff for a candidate in a mayor's race is about 10 people, not counting a few others to work the telephones.
"A staff exceeding 15 is surprisingly large," said Peter Hart, the political consultant who is working for challenger Patricia Roberts Harris. "That probably suggests that he has an awful lot of field organization or he's just overlayered with staff. The only thing that's certain is that he has those 50 votes locked up."
Barry, who had a paid campaign staff of about eight people when he ran a successful campaign in the 1978 Democratic primary for mayor, said yesterday he wants to hire more people to work for him this year.
"There's no magic number of how many people you need in a campaign," he said from his campaign office yesterday afternoon. "In Texas they raise millions for campaigns. I don't know how big their staffs are . . . there's never enough when you're trying to win an election. I may employ some more before this is all over."
In campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance, Barry reported that he has raised a record $905,061 and spent about $700,000 of it thus far -- including $208,977 on salaries for his campaign staff.
Harris, Barry's closest challenger according to recent polls, has a paid staff of 21, many of whom only recently have joined the campaign. She has paid $98,000 in salaries since entering the race in April.
Most of Barry's paid campaign staff, about 50 people, work in Barry's downtown campaign headquarters and his six satellite campaign offices based out in the neighborhoods. The remaining 25, according to Barry's campaign manager Ivanhoe Donaldson, work in Barry's phone bank operation, which the campaign uses to try to identify Barry supporters and encourage them to make plans to be at the polls on Sept. 14, when the primary elections will be held.
According to political consultants interviewed yesterday, the size of Barry's phone bank again is unusually large, particularly considering that Washington is a modest-sized city.
"We need a large phone bank operation to reach out and talk to people," said Donaldson. "It's the only way to get to that many people."
Donaldson said the core of his campaign staff at central headquarters is about 33 people, with the remaining 20 or so being part-timers who do work four to five hours a day. This does not include the telephone bank workers.
In addition to his campaign staff, Barry also has contracts with individuals to do writing, research, and polling.
Asked why he was employing so many people, Barry responded, "To help me win better."
"Nobody in our campaign is asking why we have such a big staff," Barry said. "I'm the strongest candidate running for election. I have the broadest base of support . . . we have the most contributions. I'm not really bothered by other candidates who are jealous because we have the staff. All those people who are telling you how large our staff is . . . are losers and working for losing candidates."
Barry added, "You can't buy an election. I'm not buying or selling. The only thing I'm selling is my record."
The size of Barry's campaign payroll has cost Barry more than salaries: his campaign also has had to pay payroll withholding taxes of $2,085.44 to the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue and $11,257 to the Internal Revenue Service, and a payroll tax deposit of $5,828.
In addition to paying staff and phone bank personnel, Barry paid about $20,000 to Target Communciations, a direct-mail service, to reach voters. He has also paid $6,660 to Automated Correspondence Systems; $16,000 on printing; another $2,341 to Datamatics for information on voters; and about $21,000 to Penn and Schoen, a New York polling firm.
Barry has spent about $11,035 on stamps alone, and has paid the C&P Telephone Co. bills that total over $10,000.
In addition, the incumbent has spent $482,214 on media, much of which is invested in a massive radio and television advertising campaign. Barry's radio commercials began yesterday.
Barry already has paid $50,000 for media production to Abramson Associates and another $19,000 to the firm for research.
Barry has spent thousands to purchase ads in several newspapers ranging from a publication called Black and White Men Together to a publication of the Metropolitian AME Church.
Barry, who has his campaign headquartered at 14th and G streets NW, a central downtown location near the District Building, has paid over $10,000 in rent in the last two months.
"I don't think the major issue in this campaign is who has the biggest campaign staff or who has raised the most money," Barry said yesterday. "The issue is who can best run the city and who has developed the best experience to run the city. That's me."