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Governor Hopefuls Mobilize Volunteer Forces On Campaign’s Last Day

June 5, 1989

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ Candidates for governor made final pleas to voters at train stations, senior citizen centers and shopping centers Monday while mobilizing volunteers on the final day of campaigning before Tuesday’s primary elections.

The four GOP front-runners were in a virtual dead heat in the race to succeed Gov. Thomas H. Kean.

″... This race looks to be extraordinarily close,″ said Cliff Pintak, campaign manager for Assembly Speaker and Republican hopeful Chuck Hardwick.

Analysts predict the Republican contest could be won with as few as 100,000 votes out of the roughly 400,000 expected to cast ballots in the GOP primary.

In Jackson, Miss., voters go to the polls to elect a new mayor for the first time in 12 years. State Rep. Cane Ditto, an attorney and a Democrat, faces only token opposition from three challengers in Tuesday’s general election. Ditto upset incumbent Dale Danks Jr. in the May 16th primary runoff and is opposed by Republican John Bonelli and independents Liz Gilchrist and Ricky Godbolt. Danks was mayor for 12 years.

In Sacramento, Calif., voters who gave the troubled Rancho Seco nuclear plant a reprieve last year will vote Tuesday on whether the utility passed its probation or should be shut down.

Critics fearful of nuclear accidents and angry at a $400 million repair cost and rising utility bills, want to close the 15-year-old plant permanently. But supporters say the plant’s bad days are over since it has gotten new management.

Residents of Sacramento County and parts of neighboring Placer County will vote on the propostion. It is not binding on the municipal utility that owns Rancho Seco, but a majority of the utility’s elected board members have said they will abide by the vote.

In New Jersey, Republican volunteers for Hardwick, U.S. Rep. James Courter, former Attorney General Cary Edwards and state Sen. William Gormley operated telephone banks, put literature on car windshields and knocked on doors to win support on the last day for their candidates.

A fifth major Republican candidate, state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, has lately lagged in the polls and in the fund-raising necessary to keep up with his opponents’ brisk spending for television commercials.

There has been little suspense in the Democratic race, with U.S. Rep. James Florio enjoying a nearly insurmountable lead in the polls over Assemblyman Alan Karcher and Princeton Mayor Barbara Sigmund.

Kean, the popular two-term governor who is barred by the state constitution from seeking a third straight term, could have made the Republican primary less suspenseful. Analysts believed his endorsement would have propelled the recipient well ahead of the rest of the field, but Kean backed down from plans to endorse a candidate.

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