Long Shot Paying Off Big: Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) may be a long-shot candidate for the 1984 presidential nomination, but he is a front-runner in raising and distributing money to Democratic senatorial candidates this year -- for whatever future political IOUs this is worth.

Collecting from one beneficiary might be interesting -- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) has received $80,000 in funds raised by the Senate Democratic Leadership Circle, which Cranston formed after the 1980 elections.

Cranston's fund-raising effort is pumping $2.9 million into Senate races in 31 states, compared to about $2 million each from Kennedy's and Walter F. Mondale's PACs. Only part of that has been contributed to candidates.

The circle's biggest contribution was to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (Tex.) who received $202,500. Next largest, $167,500, was to California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., followed by Sen. Robert C. Byrd (W.Va.) with $120,000, the maximum for his state, $105,764 to Daniel Patrick Moynihan (N.Y.) and $100,000 each to Donald W. Riegle Jr. (Mich.) and Howard M. Metzenbaum (Ohio).

The funds were allocated by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, of which the circle is an adjunct that Cranston formed to tap big contributors who would give $15,000 a year. While other Democratic senators have lined up contributors, circle chairman Cranston has done about 60 percent of the job.

In addition, Cranston's presidential exploratory committee has raised $159,000 and spent $153,000 this year, much of it to finance Cranston's travel to 32 states.

A GOP Cloud in the Sunshine State: Things are not looking sunny in Florida for Rep. L.A. (Skip) Bafalis, Republican challenger to Gov. Bob Graham. Bafalis' campaign coffers are nearly empty, and he probably won't receive any state or national Republican money for his campaign, according to Florida GOP Chairman Henry Sayler.

Sayler said that state and national Republican committees have contributed about $400,000 to Bafalis' campaign but that he has been told here that the money for local candidates is gone. Bafalis' latest campaign report showed he collected only $84,655 during the first two weeks of October, compared to $256,924 for Graham.

Graham has raised about $2.5 million andspent about $1.48 million, leaving him with more than $1 million for the last two weeks of the campaign. Bafalis has raised only $1.5 million and spent $1.13 million, leaving him about $370,000. In addition, he hasn't done television advertising since Oct. 1.

No More Teachers' Dirty Looks: The National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, has contributed $1.2 million and endorsed 329 House and Senate candidates, all Democrats except for five Republican Senate candidates and 13 running for House seats. This is four times as much as the 1.6 million-member union has contributed before and ranks it among the top three union contributors, according to Kenneth Melley, NEA's director of political affairs.

Melley said the union expects to spend $100,000 more by Election Day.

The NEA had several hundred members as delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 1980, the largest single bloc there.

The NEA is sitting on the sidelines in the New York Senate race because Moynihan, one of the leading supporters of education and other social programs, is also a champion of tuition tax credits for private school students.

Republicans endorsed by the NEA include: incumbent Sens. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. (Conn.), John Heinz (Pa.) and Robert T. Stafford (Vt.). The union also is supporting Jim Keck who is challenging Democratic Sen. Edward Zorinsky (Neb.) and Scott McCallum against Democratic Sen. William Proxmire (Wis.).

House GOP incumbents and candidates supported by the NEA include Connecticut Reps. Lawrence J. DeNardis and Stewart B. McKinney, Jim Leach (Iowa), Robert W. Davis (Mich.), John A. Sharp (Mo.), Frank Horton (N.Y.), Charles F. Dougherty (Pa.), Claudine Schneider (R.I.), Tennessee's James H. Quillen and John J. Duncan and Washington's Joel Pritchard and Rod Chandler. It also has contributed to Ron Packard who is running in an open district in Southern California.

Family Togetherness on the Campaign Trail: Mark Dayton, Democratic challenger to Sen. David F. Durenberger (R-Minn.), has put up billboards picturing him with his wife, the former Alida Rockefeller who is sister of West Virginia Gov. John D. Rockefeller IV, and their 2-year-old son, Eric. Republicans have countered with a bumper sticker that says in large letters, "Dump Dayton." Smaller letters read, "Reject Rockefeller."