Durable Javits almost sure to try for fifth Senate term
US Sen. Jacob K. Javits will run again. Despite some opposition within his party to a run for a fifth term, the Republican stalwart will announce his candidacy shortly, many of his closest political advisers and friends say. The New York senator himself repeatedly has refused to say flatly "yes" or "no." But he now promises he will say so publicly on or before Washington's Birthday (Feb. 22).
among the reasons GOP leaders, political confidants, and friends say Senator Javits will say "yes":
* He loves his work. While the senator might yearn for more leisure time, he would be unhappy not being in politics.
* He says that the country, so embroiled with foreign policy questions, needs him more than ever. "He's super-patriot," one friend said, meaning the senator puts country above personal ambition.
* His health is excellent. He has said repeatedly that he could withstand the rigors of a vigorous campaign. Confidants say the senator keeps youthful by working at "150 percent."
* For the first time in many years, Republicans have a chance, however slight , of being the majority party in the Senate in 1982.
This would make Senator Javits the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is now ranking minority member of the committee.
"Politics is his life . . . it keeps him young," said one Republican Senate Campaign Committee source.
Sen. H. John Heinz III (R) of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Senate Campaign Committee is vigorously urging Mr. Javits to seek a fifth term. In doing so, Senator Heinz joins most Republican politicians who say "Jake" Javits is the best possible choice for the party.
However, in New York State there has been increasing opposition to his candidacy by some Republican county leaders who take issue with both the senator's age and his liberal Republican ideology.
Brooklyn County Republican leader George L. Clark Jr. objects to the senator's liberal voting record in Congress. Richard Hanlon, an upper New York State Republican county leader from Syracuse, N.Y., will fight the senator's candidacy chiefly on the basis of age. Mr. Javits is 75.
Despite these reservations, signs remain of the senator's considerable political power. US Rep. Jack Kemp (R) of New York, a former professional football star who gained national prominence in a campaign to cut federal taxes, apparently has cooled to the idea of running against Mr. Javits in GOP primary. Until recent months Representative Kemp was much more interested in running, sources close to him say.
Mr. Kemp has become a chief spokesman for GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan may be one reason for this turnaround. But Senator Javit's political strength has to be another, close observers say.
In fact, a recent poll by the New York City-based Consensus Inc. showed that in a head-to-head primary battle Senator Javits would beat Mr. Kemp, 55 percent to 31 percent.
Taking on the post of Mr. Reagan's national policy adviser "would indicate that he [Mr. Kemp] is cooling toward a Senate bid," a close Kemp associate told the Monitor.
Meanwhile, the race for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate seat from New York is heating up. Leading the list is US Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, now in her fourth term in Congress. The congresswoman has publicly declared her candidacy for the Javits Senate seat, saying he is too old for the job and doesn't do enough for his New York State constituency. Recent polls have put Senator Javits way out in front of her.
Former New York Mayor John V. Lindsay and Bess Myerson, formerly the city's consumer affairs commissioner, are expected to enter the Democratic primary race , too. Polls indicate both faring more poorly than Representative Holtzman against Mr. Javits.
Steven Matthews, the senator's press secretary, says, "There's no question he has the physical ability to go through a difficult campaign and a six-year term."