Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, 86 and in office since 1974 faces the voters tomorrow in a Democratic primary. The Associated Press reports that for the first time in 20 years, Morgenthau faces a real challenger with a real chance to win: Leslie Crocker Snyder, 63, a no-nonsense former judge who raised the incumbent’s age and tenure as campaign issues. ”She’s challenged him unlike any other challenger ever has,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant. ”There’s no question she’s exceeded expectations. Could this be a close election? Yes, it could.” A mid-August poll by Quinnipiac University indicated Morgenthau holding a commanding lead.
Snyder’s biggest coup was getting the endorsement of The New York Times. ”Three decades is more than enough time for any executive to accomplish his or her mission,” the newspaper said. Morgenthau, who still rides a bicycle and works out on a treadmill, proved a feisty candidate. Snyder, in her own well-financed campaign, ran pointed television ads — including one that tweaked Morgenthau for refusing to debate her.