'Democrats for Reagan' in NY; new move to offset Carter lead there
Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign is picking up steam in New York. A committee of 150 prominent New York "Democrats for Reagan" was announced here Oct. 7, one day before former Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and now Reagan backer, was scheduled to release the names of a national steering committee and advisory council of Democrats for Reagan in Washington.
With recent polls still showing President Carter slightly ahead here, the formation of the state committee is only the beginning of a stepped-up fight to capture New York's 41 electorial votes.
Among those on the list of Democrats for Reagan are Martin Lasher, former top campaign organizer for Gov. Hugh Carey; Jeremiah Bloom, a former state senator who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1978; and Lorraine Colville, who ran the successful campaign of US Rep. Mario Biaggi -- a strong Carter supporter.
Mr. Lasher said this is the first time he has supported a Republican and is doing so chiefly because of Mr. Carter's Middle East policies. Former Senator Bloom echoed the sentiments of Mr. Jaworski, who said late last week that he is "disappointed in President Carter's lack of leadership, his vacillation, and lack of consistent goals."
The group is especially going after the Jewish vote, about 75 percent of which Carter won in 1976. But the tide seems to be turning toward Governor Reagan. Some polls show Carter with only around 30 percent of the Jewish vote now.
The most recent polls have shown New York State leaning to Carter by several percentage points. But the Reagan camp claims the polls do not accurately reflect where the Jewish vote will go. And, in fact, one poll released last week showed 30 percent of upstate Jewish voters were still "undecided."
While 90 percent of New York's Jewish voters are Democrats, political observers say Jews have largely tended to vote the man, not the party when the direction of US policy on Israel has been at stake.
However, Ellis Woodward, a spokesman for the Carter/Mondale re-election committee here, says Carter's Jewish support is strong and "we expect it to get stronger." But he expressed concern that independent candidate John Anderson could well throw the state to Reagan if Mr. Anderson does nothing but maintain his standing in the polls.
Meanwhile, says Enid Borden, press secretary for the Reagan-Bush committee in New York: "One of the things we're most excited about is that most of these people were not people we solicited. They called us."
While the largest bloc of Democrats for Reagan is Jewish, spokesman Borden stresses the campaign "is not writing off the black vote." Some of those on the list of 150 names are black.