MIAMI, FLORIDA--With Governor George Wallace of Alabama considered to hold the lead, the seven active candidates in Florida's March 14 primary entered the final stretch of their campaigns yesterday, as they crisscrossed the state in hectic efforts to monopolize issues, television cameras and voters' attention.
Wallace, who political observers here expect to capture anywhere from 25 to 35 per cent of the total vote, wound up his campaign in southern Florida Thursday night when he was forced to cancel a rally in Key West because of threatened racial trouble. He plans to concentrate his remaining efforts in the northern Florida panhandle region, a traditional source of Wallace support.
Throughout much of the rest of the state, Senator Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.), Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.), and Senator Edmund M. Muskee (D-Me.) are bunched together in a tight race for second place.
Jackson--emphasizing his liberal record on domestic issues, his hard headed approach to foreign policy, and his opposition to forced busing used "solely to achieve a racial balance"--spent yesterday morning touring Miami condominiums and visiting shopping centers before leaving for Fort Lauderdale where he was to meet with local labor leaders and attend a St. Patrick's dinner dance for the Irish relief fund.
Infringing on Humphrey
Although Jackson hopes to secure victory by stealing votes from Wallace's pool of conservative support, he also threatens to infringe on Humphrey's constituency of Miami Beach retirees with his strong and well circulated statements in support of aid to Israel.
Humphrey, claiming to see his own victory in Muskie's 48 per cent showing in this week's New Hampshire primary, toured Miami by helicopter Thursday. Senior citizens greeted him with choruses of "for he's a jolly good fellow." Speaking before them. Humphrey urged a 25 per cent hike in social security benefits and a guaranteed annual income for the elderly of $125 per person each month Humphrey spent Friday in Tampa returning again to Miami last night.
Muskie--who is in danger of finding himself odd man out in the shuffle--continued to point to the validity of his New Hampshire victory before going on to charge the Administration with neglect in establishing sound relationships with Latin America in a speech in coastal Florida's Broward county.
Thursday, he too had made in Miami what was billed as a major statement, a proposed national "fair share" tax program, including a graduated social security tax, property tax relief, and repeal of tax breaks for big business Muskie ended Friday's campaigning with a walk through the Palm Beach shopping mall. As it had in New Hampshire Muskie's earlier absence from the primary battle seems to have hurt him.
Lindsay's Murder Tour
Meanwhile, Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York--engaged in his own battle with Senator George McGovern (D-S.D.) and representative Shirley Chisholm (D-N.Y.) for the state's liberal vote--dramatized yet two more national problems.
On Thursday, he led Miami on a "Murder Tour" of gun factories and shops while displaying a revolver that an aide had purchased with a borrowed credit card. Then, yesterday, he had himself photographed in front of an oil tanker while denouncing oil depreciation allowances. Lindsay spent Friday on a swing through Tampa and Jacksonville and returned to Miami today.
sleeves, Lindsay also made repeated appearances on Miami television in a series of one minute commercials, offering himself to be electorate as a "fighter" rather than a "talker." But he nonetheless lost yesterday's round of the battle on the tube to Jackson, whose supporters bought up three half-hour slots to air their documentary entitled "a different kind of candidate."
McGovern, buoyed by his 38 per cent share of the New Hampshire vote, stepped up his schedule of appearances, focusing the final days of his campaign on St. Petersberg and Miami and an endless round of handshaking tours.
Yesterday, he backed Florida's Republican Governor Reubin Askew in the latter's contentions that opposition to busing is camoflagued opposition to integration.
Askew himself made headlines yesterday when he announced that the percentage of students bussed in Florida has risen only three points--from 32 to 35--in the last twenty years. Askew--currently leading in his battle against an anti-busing straw vote on Tuesday's ballot--was immediately accused of falsifying statistics by members of his own party.
Both McGovern and Chisholm left Florida last night to attend Chicago's Black caucus. And although McGovern will return to join other candidates in addressing a high school youth primary in North Miami Beach today. Chisholm does not plan to return to the state until Monday.
And finally, in a portentous replay of elections past, Bernard Garmire, Miami's chief of police, yesterday revealed that he had received threats that Miami's water supply would be laced with LSD during the upcoming Democratic convention.
"Now that we are alert to it, there is a much better chance that it can't happen than that it can," he assured the besieged citizenry of Miami
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