A Day At The Races

Attorney General

When Democratic voters choose tomorrow between former U.S. Representative James M. Shannon and former assistant attorney general Jo Ann Shotwell, they not will not necessarily be choosing their next attorney general.

The winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary will face a serious Republican challenge from former U.S. Attorney and former Democrat Edward F. Harrington in November. However, in predominantly Democratic Massachusetts Harrington is considered to be a long shot.

Shannon, 34, is expected to beat Shotwell, 33, easily; according to one recent poll, Shannon is leading by a 55-13 percent margin.

Francis X. Bellotti, who is leaving the post of Attorney General after a 12-year stint, has declined to endorse any of the candidates. Shannon has received the support of Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, who praises the candidate's plans for drug enforcement.

Twelve years ago, Harrington, 52, lost the Democratic Primary for the same post to Belotti and switched parties to challenge Belotti again. Harrington says he will be tougher on white-collar and organized crime than was his Democratic predecessor.

Shannon has emphasized an attorney general's need for broad expertise, in drug trafficking, the environment, civil rights and insurance. Shotwell, in turn, highlights Shannon's limited courtroom experience.

Lieutenant Governor

Gov. Michael S. Dukakis's reputed Presidential ambitions have turned the normally glamorless office of lieutenant governor into a prize sought heatedly by three candidates.

The race between the two Democrats--former State Secretary for Environmental Affairs Evelyn Murphy and State Sen. Gerard D'Amico (D-Worcester)--ends tomorrow. Republican Nicholas Nikitas, a Reagan appointee to two commissions on education, is unopposed in the Republican primary.

John F. Kerry, who held the office previously, was elected to the United States Senate in 1984 and since then the seat has been vacant.

Although D'Amico, boasts many labor endorsements, recent polls have given Murphy the lead. The latest poll gives her 44 percent of the vote and D'Amico 23 percent.

D'Amico and Murphy have run unusually bitter campaigns, splitting alliances and endorsements. The governor, despite political ties to both, has admonished them for wrangling, while refusing to grant his sanction to either candidacy.

In the absence of strong ideological differences, images have become important: D'Amico's campaign has presented him as the rumpled, savvy pol with working-class roots and a common touch. Murphy plays the polished administrator, decisive and effective in the practice of a traditionally male profession.

Both subscribe to a basic liberal checklist of views, supporting minority, elderly and women's rights, opposing capital punishment and nuclear power. Each calls the other a hypocrite on all of the above issues.