Rick Lazio and Bill Perkins are in serious trouble going into Tuesday’s primary

Let’s start with Republican candidate for Governor Rick Lazio.

How could he not see the huge 200 mile an hour “momentum” train running over him and having a nice cushion landing at the footsteps of rival Carl Paladino.

Lazio tried to ignore Paladino, to run out the clock, a sort of “Rose Garden” strategy. However mistake number one, to use such a tactic, you should be well liked by the base, and let’s face it, support for Lazio with the Republican Party Faithful has been luke-warm at absolute best. Lazio’s strategy may still barely work, but not if you believe the latest poll. It is great news for Paladino, and horrible for Lazio.

Gone is Lazio’s double digit lead. A Siena College Research Institute poll found Paladino trailing Lazio by just one percentage point, 42-43, among likely GOP voters. Paladino, a political novice, has courted Tea Party activists, and when you combine his very healthy checking account, Lazio is in trouble.

That’s why my point of not doing the NY1/YNN debate in Syracuse was a terrible, terrible mistake for Lazio. All he had to do was let Paladino do all the talking, and hang himself with some of his outrageous ideas.

Done right, Lazio could have even looked Presidential compared to Paladino.

Now, Lazio has slighted the upstate vote. No, more accurately, Lazio may have motivated the upstate vote considering Paladino is one of their own from Buffalo only about 3 hours away from Syracuse debate site.

Who is the world is really advising Lazio? He has the support of GOP establishment figures like former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Former Governor George Pataki, but unlike both of them, Lazio has proved he doesn’t know how to work it.

As I said before, even if Lazio wins, he loses because with this poll he has already lost the expectations game. Pundits will have a field day at his expense, and the cash-strapped Lazio will continue to have money problems up against a well financed Andrew Cuomo.

The situation may not be any better for another person who is in serious trouble Tuesday , and that is Harlem State Senator Bill Perkins. Is the hand-writing on the wall, or might Perkins somehow pull it out.

Not only does his opponent, Basil Smikle have the momentum, but the Daily News and Post have both endorsed Smikle.

If that wasn’t bad enough the local political club headed by Manhattan Democratic County leader Keith Wright ditched Perkins, and instead backed Smikle.

And on the eve of the election even Governor Paterson is providing Smikle with support, appearing with him, and not the incumbent. We’ll come back to Paterson in a moment.

Smikle and critics have accused Perkins of doing the bidding of the United Federation of Teachers, and look at what the News said of it’s backing of Smikle.

"By waging war against the expansion of public charter schools, Manhattan state Sen. Bill Perkins fought to deny low-income city kids the quality educational options available to richer kids.

Democrats in the 30th District, covering Harlem, the upper West Side and Washington Heights, should now deny him reelection in the Sept. 14 primary. They should send to Albany Basil Smikle, a fresh-thinking former aide to both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The district's children have long been forced to attend failing public schools.

But in recent years, hope arrived with an influx of high-performing charter schools that are delivering tremendous academic results."

Meanwhile keep in mind this is the same Senate seat Paterson held. Paterson’s visit all but stopped short of a formal endorsement, and Paterson remains popular in his Harlem base.

The fact is the Harlem political establishment soured on Perkins long ago, and he's not well liked by elected officials.

Tuesday night will be very interesting.