Picturing the Virginia governorship as a majestic officefor which Democrat Henry E. Howell is too small and unworthy a figure, Gov. Mills E. GOdwin escalated his long-time war and called a new for the election of Republican John N. Dalton on Nov. 8.

Labeling that date a time of "fateful decision" for all Virginians, the governor flew with Dalton to rallies in conservative Southside Virginia and in Fairfax County, and warned that "the bosses in the hierarchy of the labor unions" are "supplying the ammunition" for the Howell campaign.

"They have always been his first and foremost and most prominent backers," Godwin told a luncheon rally in Danville. "They 've been the onew out there on the front lines. And they're out there on the front lines now."

Godwin charged that Howell's election would shatter the long-nurtured confidence of the nation's business community in the predictability of Virginia's government and would "touch at the pocketbook of every citizen" of the commonwealth.

Bud Godwin concentrated his heaviest fire on Howell's personal character, labeling him an "irresponsible" man given to "reckless" and contradic-otyrstatements - a man unworthy of the most "honored" office of the governorship.

He said the "galaxy of very fine" previous governors had always exercised the power of the governorship responsibly, and suggested that Howell was hardly of their caliber.

"The people of Virginia look to their governor for dignity . . . ," he said. "They look to their governor to express their views. They look to their governor to give them responsible direction. They look to their governor to be the Virginia gentleman that everybody in this state wants him to be."

The great figures of Virginia's past, whose portraits line the halls of the Capitol in Richmond, he suggested, would not be "comfortable" with Henry Howell among their number, and among the people in the commonwealth.

Godwin's attack on Howell was his strongest so far in the third and fourth of 11 planned appearances undisclosed number of Dalton commercials expected to carry the attack to the airways.

Dalton, also speaking in Danville, again charged Howell as he has before with contradictory statements regarding Virginia's right work law and fro his "long record of opposition to business in general."

While he acknowledged that the General Assembly is likely soon to repeal the law, he said "what the General Assembly may or may not do is not he point. What is the point is the attitude of either candidate."

He himself favors retention of the law, Dalton said. Despite recent similar statements from Howell, Dalton said, the Democrat has shown by his past statements and actions that he would favor repeal.