Mayor Marion Barry's anticipated announcement that he will not to seek a fourth term likely would free up campaign contributions and support for mayoral aspirants and redirect media attention to a campaign that has been overshadowed by Barry's political and legal problems.

That was the consensus yesterday of the District's mayoral candidates, some of whom have intensified their fund-raising and personal appearances since Barry's trial on cocaine possession and perjury charges began last week.

"I think if the mayor is not in the race, everyone stands to benefit," said John Ray, an at-large D.C. Council member and the leading fund-raiser among the Democratic candidates for mayor.

D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (Ward 4), another Democratic mayoral candidate, said "It is the signal that many need . . . . "

Joslyn N. Williams, a labor leader and chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, said that Ray and Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, whose mayoral campaign has gotten off to a shaky start, likely would be the main beneficiaries if Barry bows out.

"Many of the church people supporting {Barry} have been with Walter," Williams said. " . . . I think regardless of what the mayor says, many of them will go with Walter."

However, council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2), a candidate for council chairman, said he questions whether Barry's expected announcement will make much difference in the mayor's race.

"I didn't believe the mayor could win anyway, so I don't believe it makes much difference," Wilson said. "I think the press attention will be on the trial anyway . . . . Until the trial gets out of the way, people won't cover the campaign."

A recent poll by The Washington Post indicated that Ray would benefit most with Barry out of the race. The poll, conducted in May, showed that Ray and Barry led the field, with each supported by 23 percent of the self-described registered Democrats surveyed.

The poll also showed that Ray's Democratic support would climb to 29 percent if Barry stays out of the September primary.

Ray said yesterday that he is not seeking an endorsement from Barry. According to a key Ray supporter, campaign organizers want to avoid alienating those Ray supporters who have strong feelings against the mayor.

Still, the Ray campaign is preparing for a media blitz calculated to help Ray in the event Barry steps aside or if the trial drags on.

The campaign this month will distribute 100,000 copies of an eight-page tabloid heralding Ray's background and achievements.

"While the voters are concentrating on the trial there will be something there for them to read," said George Mitchell, Ray's campaign manager.

The Ray campaign, the only one to air television campaign commercials so far in the race, also will run radio spots in the coming weeks, according to Mitchell.

Fauntroy said his campaign strategies and activities "will be the same whatever decision {Barry} makes." Fauntroy will begin a "people-to-people" tour of wards in the District on Thursday.

The Post poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, indicated that Fauntroy also would benefit from a Barry decision against running. Fauntroy's support would climb from 10 percent to 16 percent of the voters surveyed if Barry were not in the race.

"We do feel that if the mayor is out of the campaign, most of the voters will support Walter Fauntroy because he is a known commodity," said Robert L. Johnson, Fauntroy's campaign manager.

Jerry Cooper, a close friend and adviser to D.C. Council chairman David A. Clarke, another Democratic candidate for mayor, said that Barry's expected announcement would trigger a new phase in the campaign, in which voters and the media would finally begin to focus on the other candidates.

"It would really be up for grabs as to who is going to get Marion's 20 to 25 percent," Cooper said. "Everyone feels they can pick up a little piece of it . . . . I think we've got a real good shot at the voters who, if Barry doesn't run, want to take the next in line."

Several mayoral contenders could reap crucial campaign contributions and support if Barry steps aside, and most have developed contingency plans to capitalize in the event that he does.

Campaign finance reports released yesterday showed that Ray continues to lead the pack in fundraising, with a total of $689,679, including $158,206 during the last three months. Ray also reported spending $310,950, including $64,000 for the purchase of TV advertising and $20,400 for a poll, leaving $263,611 in cash on hand.

By contrast, Barry, who suspended his campaign while awaiting trial, reported raising about $3,700 and spending $72,367 during the latest reporting period.

Fauntroy and Republican Maurice T. Turner Jr. filed campaign finance reports for the first time since getting into the mayoral race, with Fauntroy showing $184,418 in campaign contributions and Turner reporting $205,684.

Turner's totals included about $41,000 in funds his exploratory committee raised at a dinner a year ago, while Fauntroy's funds were raised during the past three months, the latest campaign finance reporting period.

Turner's report showed that the former D.C. police chief has spent the vast majority of his funds, with expenditures of $176,006 on such items as consulting fees, campaign equipment and supplies. Fauntroy reported spending $122,476 of his contributions.

Fauntroy reported major donations from a longtime supporters such as campaign manager Johnson, who gave the maximum of $2,000. Three of Johnson's companies, including Black Entertainment Television and District Cablevision, also contributed $2,000 apiece, as did lawyer Ruby McZier, hardware executive John Hechinger and Hechinger's wife, June.

Clarke reported raising $68,698 during the three-month period, pushing his total to nearly $240,000. He reported cash on hand of $163,067.

Jarvis reported contributions of $27,818 for a total of $172,091, and cash on hand of $33,440.

Democrat Sharon Pratt Dixon reported raising $35,548 during the period, for a total of $170,000, with cash on hand of $20,555. Dixon also showed campaign debts of $26,023.

Dixon was the first mayoral contender to publicly urge Barry to resign.

While Dixon has trailed in the polls, her campaign aides say that with Barry out of the race they stand a good chance of moving up.

"If he's not in the race, Barry's people won't be Barry's people," said David Byrd, Dixon's campaign manager.

Byrd said Dixon, who believes she has not received adequate attention from the news media, intends to step up her campaigning, including appearances in shopping centers.

"Since the media won't be available during the trial, we're going to focus more on going out meeting people face to face," he said.

Jarvis said Barry's departure would "have a very beneficial impact on my campaign, in terms of the numbers of supporters who will come to my campaign, and the financial support."

Jarvis said she expects her campaign to pick up momentum during the next several weeks.