Virginia Republican Wyatt B. Durrette's campaign for governor is being hampered by internal disputes over strategy, advertising and fund raising, according to campaign and other Republican sources.
The disputes have slowed the GOP campaign at a time when Democratic candidate Gerald L. Baliles is airing three weeks of television commercials around the state -- including new 10-second spots that ridicule Durrette by comparing his stands on some issues to a looping roller coaster.
Durrette has yet to begin airing his TV ads and that void has taken on added significance, several advisers said, because a majority of voters know very little about either candidate and are just beginning to focus on the Nov. 5 general election.
Most polls have rated the contest a tossup.
J. Smith Ferebee, a Richmond financier and key Durrette fund-raiser, said in an interview that the Republican effort has been disorganized and slow to take the initiative. "It's getting late" for the Durrette campaign to get organized and agree on a strategy, Ferebee said.
"It's a matter of strategy, [what's] the right thing to do. If there is a problem, it's a problem of knowing what to do," he said. "I'll be damned if I can find two or three people to agree" on the strategy.
Republicans close to all three statewide races, including lieutenant governor and attorney general -- said the problem is a split in the Durrette camp between more moderate advisers, including chief political consultant Edward DeBolt of Arlington, and conservative former Democrats and associates of former Gov. Mills B. Godwin, including Ferebee, who are playing an active role in the Durrette campaign.
"They do not have a working strategy," said one Republican strategist.
He said Durrette still has not adjusted to running against the more moderate Baliles.
Baliles, a former attorney general, upset Democratic Lt. Gov. Richard J. Davis, considered more liberal, for the Democratic nomination.
Don Harrison, Durrette's press secretary, dismissed the reports of campaign problems and declined to discuss the media strategy.
"It's our business what we do with the money and we don't have to tell anyone about it," said Harrison.
"They Baliles' campaign would have every reason to get out there first. We're breathing down their necks. If he wants to pollute the airways with that kind of stuff, that's his choice."
David Doak, Baliles' media consultant, said the Democrats were delighted by the lack of GOP television ads.
"It's like having two blank canvasses," Doak said. "The person who gets his strokes there first has the advantage.
We've gotten a full jump on them."
Durrette is planning to begin two weeks of television advertising Monday in each major TV market in the state at a cost of about $100,000, his aides said.
That is about half of what Baliles has been spending.
The Durrette campaign scheduled a "major media buy" last week but then retreated, according to media brokers.
Republican sources said the Durrette campaign was having cash problems and is hoping to get an infusion of cash and publicity when President Reagan comes to the state Oct. 9 for a fund-raiser that is expected to gross $500,000.
"I'd like to see a mass event at nominal cost and create some activity," said Ferebee.
A top state Republican official, who asked not to be named, said Durrette has failed to tap direct mail sources traditionally used by the GOP and that the state party is being asked to do more "than ever before" to help set up telephone banks and other activities previously covered by the individual campaigns.
One Durrette official said the older Godwin crowd, which dates back to the Harry F. Byrd organization that controlled politics in Virginia for decades, "is attack oriented by nature. They are way more intense," while the DeBolt faction, which ran the successful Senate campaigns of Republicans John W. Warner and Paul S. Trible, prefers more moderate campaigns stressing a positive approach.
An example of the split came a few weeks ago when the Godwin faction prompted a joint statement by Durrette and State Sen. John H. Chichester of Fredericksburg, the GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, which accused Democratic Gov. Charles S. Robb of injecting racial issues into the campaign.
The attack on the popular Democrat later was criticized by some within the Durrette campaign and the GOP and quickly dropped.
DeBolt recently acknowledged that Durrette's campaign had been bothered by several problems during the summer, but he said today that those problems have been resolved. CAPTION: Picture, Wyatt B. Durrette . . . plans TV ads worth $100,000