With New York's primaries for state and local offices less than one week away , GOP and Democratic contenders are doing some last-minute jockeying for position in their bids to unseat veteran Republicans Sen. Jacob K. Javits.
In the latest polls, Senator Javits's GOP primary lead over Alfonse D'Amato has slipped substatially from 30 points earlier this summer to just under 10 points, because of what Javits calls the "low level" campaign being success, is hammaring away at the senator's age and health say time is running out for D'Amato to close the servers say time is running out for D'Amato to close the gap by next week.
In the Democratic primary, one-time Miss America Bess Myerson appears to be the front-runner in a three- way race that pits her against former New York Mayor John V. Lindsay and US Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman.
Miss Myerson has made sizable gains over her chief rival, Miss Holtzman, according to the latest New York Times poll. It shows her leading by 11 points among "those most likely to vote." Mr. Lindsay, who along with the Holtzman campaign has been plagued by fund-raising problems, came in a distant third in the poll.
One of the main reasons for Myerson's headway, according to this and other soundings, is her extremely wide name recognition and charisma.
Compared with Holtzman or Lindsay, she has had very little political experience. She has campaigned in past elections for other candidates, such as Mayor Edward I. Koch. And she served as New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner. In fact, she was appointed to that post by then Mayor Lindsay, who during the present campaign readily admits, "she did an excellent job."
Both Lindsay and Holtzman frequently pepper their campaign speeches with criticism of Myerson's political inexperience.
Myerson responds that currently, 21 US senators had never held elected office before they became senators and what really counts is a person's entire "range of experience." This range, in her case, includes being a highly paid business consultant on consumer affairs after leaving the Lindsay administration as well as writing a consumer column for the New York Daily News.
Regarding the qualifications of her former boss, Myerson declares that despite his years of elected office, he was largely responsible for causing the city's fiscal crisis. And many impartial close observers agree in large measure with her assessment.
Myerson's primary campaign has received an enormous boost in campaign contributions, botably for television time. According to a report filed with the Federal Elections Commission Aug. 28, she had raised $1,099,000 and spend $1 ,095,967.
In sharp contrast, Lindsay, who had originally hoped to spend $600,000 on his Senate campaign, has raised only $178,427. Holtzman has raised $1,178,000 and spent all but $10,000 of this.
Holtzman's staffers take issue with the way the New York Times poll was conducted, charging it with "bias" in Myerson's favor. A spokesman for the Holtzman campaign says that a poll in last week's New York Post showed Holtzman, who lacks Myerson's "charisman," and Myerson running "neck and neck."
If Myerson wins the primary, she vows she will not make "age and health an issue" against Javits. But she is calling for even stronger support for Israel than he has shown -- he has been critical of new settlements on the West Bank, among other things -- and greater financial support for New York City.