Because of a typographical error, an article yesterday about campaign finances in Fairfax County board races misstated the amount of money raised by Chairman John F. Herrity and Supervisor Audrey Moore. Their combined fund-raising to date is $325,000. Total fund-raising in their race is expected to reach $750,000 by Election Day, Nov. 3. (Published 8/19/87)

When Democrat Pat Watt ran for Fairfax County's top elected position four years ago, the race was a modest affair run from makeshift offices in the candidate's home, with all-volunteer staffs and folksy door-to-door campaigns.

This year, all that has changed. Local politics in the Northern Virginia suburbs is awash in money, reflecting a surge in Fairfax's economy and population since 1983, the last time all nine members of the County Board of Supervisors faced reelection.

While Watt and her opponent four years ago, Republican County Board Chairman John F. Herrity, together spent barely $100,000, this year's race between Herrity and Supervisor Audrey Moore (D-Annandale) has already drawn about $225,000 in contributions and may triple that figure before the Nov. 3 elections, political observers say.

What's more, local races for the other eight contested seats on the board, which in the past could be won for as little as $10,000, this year have drawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.

"I'm almost positive that total spending this year for local races {for the county board} will be well over $1 million," said Charles J. Weir, chairman of Virginia's 10th District Republican Party.

Aides to Herrity, who is seeking a fourth term as board chairman, reported yesterday having raised nearly $200,000 from about 1,300 donors. Finance reports filed with the county showed that in the last month, Herrity has received 14 donations of $1,000 or more.

Moore reported having raised about $125,000 from about 2,700 contributors -- a show of strength that has surprised some of her supporters and detractors.

Spending in the Herrity-Moore race, if it satisfies predictions that it is on target to become a $750,000 campaign, would nearly double the amount spent by Democrats Sidney Kramer and David L. Scull in their primary battle last year for Montgomery County executive.

In fact, according to political professionals, it was the costly Montgomery County Council elections last year that heralded the shift in the cost of local suburban politics. In Fairfax, comparisons to past campaigns illustrate the point:In 1979, the last time Moore was challenged in her Annandale District seat, she spent $7,350 getting reelected; this year the two candidates in Annandale, neither of whom is particularly well known, have raised a total of $25,000. In 1983, when Herrity last ran for board chairman, his total spending was barely $60,000; this year he aims to spend 10 times that, according to Republican sources. In northern Fairfax's Dranesville District -- including McLean, Great Falls and Herndon -- where a three-way race for the board seat has stoked political interest this year, contributions have reached $80,000 and total spending may exceed $200,000 by Election Day. In Mason District, a mostly inside-the-Beltway area bordering Arlington and Alexandria, Republican Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III has raised nearly $40,000 even though he faces only token opposition from an unknown independent candidate, Daniel Belsole. One virtually unknown independent candidate for county board chairman, Jim Morris, has borrowed $46,000 to pay for a number of cable television advertisements that he hopes will make his name known by Election Day. The other independent candidate in the chairman's race, Terry Robarge, has raised and spent almost nothing.

The large amounts of money also may be a sign of the importance that many voters in Fairfax, a jurisdiction of 700,000, attach to the local races. The principal issues this year -- traffic and development -- strike close to home. And the differences between Moore, who advocates restrictions on growth, and Herrity, who has championed developers' concerns, are stark.

The perception in some business circles that Moore's slow-growth policies may derail the county's prosperity has generated large numbers of contributions to Herrity as well as a network of fund-raising activities on Herrity's behalf in the county's corporate world.

Herrity is also seeking to capitalize on the perception by turning to developers for help in fund raising.

Despite his repeated promises not to accept money from developers, he met last month with a group of them and asked that they raise large amounts of money for him.

For all the candidates, the expense of getting their messages across to voters has become high.

For example, the cost of a countywide mailing to all 200,000 households with a registered voter runs at least $40,000, according to Tom Herrity, the board chairman's son and campaign manager.

A television ad campaign, if it is to be effective, runs nearly $100,000, according to campaign veterans.