Mayor Marion Barry and Patricia Roberts Harris, the front-runners for the Democratic nomination for mayor, together have raked in more than $1 million in campaign contributions, leaving the other major candidates scratching hard for funds to keep their campaigns going.
With three months remaining until the crucial Sept. 14 Democratic primary, Barry has raised a record $691,919, an embarrassment of riches that has prompted him to tell potential supporters at some political gatherings that he is more interested in their votes than their money.
Harris, a former Carter administration cabinet member criticized by opponents as being out of touch with the city, appears to be establishing a financial base among local businessmen, Realtors, developers and lawyers who have chipped in nearly half the $316,152 that Harris has raised so far.
Other candidates, meanwhile, are running into financial roadblocks.
D.C. City Council member Betty Ann Kane took her cash-short campaign to prime-time television last week with a half-hour program that cost $32,000 to produce and air. Kane hoped to raise $100,000 but took in only $15,000. She finished the week with $22,000 on hand -- including $16,000 she lent to her own campaign.
"Everybody is afraid not to give to the mayor," Kane lamented this week. "That's why he has that money . . . The more money he gets now just adds to the cynicism around town about him, and his way of running the government . . . Everything is for sale."
Council member John Ray, who got off to a fast start in raising funds last January, has taken in only $63,000 since early March. Ray is still third in overall fund-raising, with $289,506 as of June 10, but his cash on hand has shrunk from $55,000 March 10 to only $19,000 last week.
"We're just trying to make do with what we have," said Nancy M. (Bitsy) Folger, Ray's chief fundraiser, whose two teen-aged sons each contributed $1,000 to Ray's campaign recently.
"Pat Harris really picked up a lot of money in the last report and that was bound to have an adverse effect temporarily," Folger said. "But it can't continue."
Charlene Drew Jarvis of Ward 4, the third council member vying for the nomination, has raised only $28,925 since she launched her candidacy in March -- about half the amount that physician Morris Harper, a virtual unknown in city politics who is running a long shot campaign for mayor, claims to have taken in.
Jarvis said she is undaunted by her poor showing. "We've come farther with less money in three months than any other candidate," Jarvis said recently. "We're in our growth period."
By D.C. political standards, Barry's campaign war chest is awesome. His reelection committee reported last week that, after major expenditures -- including the salaries of about 40 workers -- there still was $356,343 on hand, more than Harris has raised overall.
Barry has received financial support from virtually every segment of the city's business and labor communities, especially from minority businessmen and developers, and from contractors.
The two events that raised the most money for the mayor's campaign were a minority businessmen's cocktail party at the Pisces Club in Georgetown, which brought in about $91,000, and a party given in Bethesda by Herbert Haft, chairman of Dart Drugs, that raised about $50,000.
Of the approximately 1,200 contributors listed in Barry's latest campaign finance report, which covers the period between March 10 and June 10, about 90 contributed $1,000 and 50 contributed $2,000, the legal maximum.
Ivanhoe Donaldson, Barry's campaign manager, said most of the money raised will be used to pay for staff, direct mail, and events that draw people to his campaign, with less emphasis on television and radio advertising .
Harris strategists plan to spend about 50 percent of the funds raised on television, radio and newspaper advertising, beginning late July or early August.
"We need paid media to compete with others who are using paid media . . . But we do not think it will carry the day for anyone," said Sharon Pratt Dixon, Harris's campaign director. "Pat will not need as much money as the incumbent because she won't have as much to explain away."
Harris and her aides said they have intentionally kept their professional campaign staff down to seven or eight persons and relied heavily on volunteers. The most recent financial statement indicates that as many as 15 people have been on the payroll at any one time and 40 percent of the campaign's expenditures since March have gone for salaries.
About 88 of the 580 contributors listed in Harris's most recent financial disclosure statement each gave between $1,000 and $2,000.
Those who gave $2,000, the legal maximum, included developer Oliver T. Carr Jr., a member of Harris' finance committee; H. Max Ammerman, a lawyer and developer; James H. Rowe Jr., a promiment Washington lawyer; Gerald R. Segal, a construction company executive; and developer Peter Calomiris.
Kane, an at-large council member who was running a distant third behind Harris and Barry in early polls, said this week she used her personal savings to make two loans to her campaign organization -- one for $10,000 on May 24 and another for $6,000 on June 2. Kane's salary as a council member is $41,290 a year.
Also, Marilou Righini, an activist at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Ward 3, Serguis Gambal, an executive of the Colonial parking company, and Warren Montouri, a real estate investor, each loaned Kane's campaign $1,000, according to the June 10 reports.
Kane said this week that her committee already has repaid about $4,000 of the total $19,000 in loans.
"It's a very normal kind of situation," she said. "We had a cash flow problem. In order to meet the cost of the TV show, I had to pay my bill to the TV station first with cash. In order to do that without disturbing money we had set aside for operations, the budget we use to pay the staff and on-going costs, I borrowed the money."
Folger, Ray's chief fund-raiser, said yesterday there was nothing improper in two of her sons, Peter, 19, and Nicholas, 17, contributing $1,000 apiece to the Ray campaign.
The D.C. campaign finance law prohibits a person from making a political contribution through another person, but Folger said her sons, both students who have done volunteer work for Ray's campaign, used their own savings -- not her money -- to make the contributions.
"It was perfectly legal, as far as I know," she said. CAPTION: Picture 1, Mayor Marin Barry: $691,919 almost embarrasment of riches in campaign.; Picture 2, Patricia Harris: a base among businessmen, Realtors, developers and lawyers.; Picture 3, John Ray: from fast contribution start last January, he is third in raising funds.; Picture 4, Betty Ann Kane: took cash-short campaign to TV last week, loaned self cash.