Former Governors Miss the Mansions

When Walter J. Hickel, a secretary of the Interior in the Nixon administration, announced recently that he was a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor of Alaska, he became the 10th former governor this year to seek his old job.

Five other Republicans are trying again: James A. Rhodes of Ohio is an underdog in a rematch against Gov. Richard F. Celeste (D); in Texas, William Clements leads in the polls in his rematch against Gov. Mark White (D); in Arkansas, Frank D. White is far behind in his third rematch against Gov. Bill Clinton (D); former senator Henry L. Bellmon, who was governor of Oklahoma 20 years ago, wants to succeed Gov. George Nigh (D); Winfield Dunn, who in 1970 became Tennessee's first Republican governor in 50 years, will try to succeed Gov. Lamar Alexander (R).

Among the Democrats: Fob James faces a tough four-way primary in Alabama on Tuesday; Richard F. Kniep of South Dakota is expected to win his primary Tuesday; in Idaho, polls show Cecil D. Andrus -- another former secretary of the Interior -- leading Lt. Gov. David H. Leroy (R); in Arkansas, Orval Faubus was unsuccessful in his primary challenge to Clinton.

One More Time for Rizzo

Former Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo wants his old job back, this time as a Republican.

The talk is that Rizzo, a Democrat when he was mayor from 1971 to 1979, will seek the GOP nomination next year. In 1983, Rizzo's first comeback try was foiled by W. Wilson Goode, who beat him in a Democratic primary that divided along racial lines. Rizzo is said to feel that if he can get to a general election as a Republican, he'll have a larger pool of white voters to draw from. And Goode, now the incumbent, is seen as vulnerable because of his handling of the MOVE affair last year.

At Odds With the Elderly

Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) is in trouble with the elderly. Gorton, running for reelection, has been airing television ads that feature the tag line: "Slade Gorton -- fighting to make Social Security something we can depend on for years to come."

The Washington State Council of Senior Citizens doesn't quite see it that way. According to President Ken Anderson, Gorton led an effort to eliminate the 1986 Social Security cost-of-living increases and "he has voted the wrong way" on 10 issues last year that were in senior citizens' best interests. Gorton defends the ads, saying that he voted to pass the Social Security Amendments Act of 1983, which he says "guarantees there will be money in the system to pay benefits . . . well into the 21st century." The ads will continue to run.

$1 Million in the Kitty

Rep. James R. Jones (D-Okla.) announced his challenge last week for the Senate seat held by conservative Don Nickles (R). Jones' membership on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee hasn't hurt his ability to attract contributors -- he has raised about $1 million, the most of any Democratic Senate challenger except Gov. Bob Graham of Florida.

I Know You're Out There

The latest in fund-raising mail from Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.:

"If this letter reaches you, will you please contact me immediately?

"Otherwise, I will start a special mail trace of the important letter I recently mailed to you, which apparently you never received . . . .

"In December, I sent you your new RNC Sustaining Membership card for 1986 and asked you to renew your support for this election year by sending a contribution for $22 or even $25 . . . .

"When I didn't hear from you for several weeks, I wrote to you again. And I still haven't heard from you . . . . Whatever the reason, I cannot give up trying to reach you to enlist your renewed support for our Party in this landmark election . . . .

"Now, unless I hear back from you by June 10, I will authorize a trace on my letter containing the registered membership card I issued as a replacement in case the original was lost or stolen."

For good measure, the envelope bears the message: TRACER ENCLOSED.

In the Limelight

Sen. Larry Pressler advises South Dakotans to buckle up; Sen. John H. Chafee tells Rhode Islanders about a tutoring program for the illiterate; Sen. Robert W. Kasten counsels Wisconsinites on Alzheimer's disease.

This year 17 Republican senators -- six of whom are up for reelection -- are starring in a series of television ads that perform a public service -- and keep them in the limelight back home. The ads, produced by the Senate Republican Conference, involve such subjects as drunk driving, osteoporosis and job training and offer viewers courses of action. Senators can choose their topics, and the 30-second announcements are offered to stations in their states.


More Americans, 51 percent, than in past Gallup polls name the Republicans as the party better able to keep the country prosperous, compared to 33 percent who name the Democratic Party.

Neither party holds a clear-cut lead as the one better able to keep the country at peace, according to Gallup, with the GOP named by 39 percent and the Democrats named by 36 percent.