On the eve of New York City's mayoral election, race tightens and accusations fly

Monday, November 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The two men vying to lead a city still coming to grips with the losses inflicted on Sept. 11 made a last-minute push for two vital electorates: the undecided and the wavering.

With only hours to go before the polls open Tuesday, Republican mayoral candidate Michael Bloomberg tried to woo the undecided while Democratic counterpart Mark Green tried to maintain his African-American base.

Bloomberg spent much of Sunday in neighborhoods where swing Democrats were concentrated _ and where Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has won support in the past. He also campaigned with former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch and Republican Gov. George Pataki.

At his campaign stops, Green continued to hit Bloomberg on the billionaire's recent membership in four all-white clubs. Black voters are a key to whether Green can win an election that has become surprisingly close.

Recent polls suggest one in five voters were still making up their minds.

A poll released Sunday and conducted by the Daily News and the New York 1 cable news station found the race nearly even. Green had a 43 percent to 39 percent lead _ which falls within the margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

This summer, Green led Bloomberg by as many as 40 points, but the city's public advocate, the city's elected government watchdog, has watched his lead evaporate.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party criticized Bloomberg for running an ad using old quotes from several prominent Democratic backers of his opponent that appear to be critical of Green.

The ad uses footage from press conferences and television interviews featuring Sen. Charles Schumer and U.S. Reps. Charles Rangel and Nydia Velasquez, among others.

Schumer released a statement asking that his quote be removed from the ad.

The Green campaign said the commercial is a Republican attempt to racially divide the city.

``Michael Bloomberg clearly does not have the temperament to govern New York City,'' Green spokesman Joe DePlasco said. ``He seems to enjoy dividing New York City.''

But Bloomberg spokesman William Cunningham said the commercial is fair and accurate. ``Those were public statements made over the public airwaves, by public officials,'' Cunningham said.

Also on Sunday, the Daily News endorsed Bloomberg and Newsday endorsed Green.