Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Buchanan backers angered by Kansas ballot omission

State board may decide Friday on Reform Party candidate issue

August 30, 2000

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— Leaders of the Kansas Reform Party who support Pat Buchanan are frustrated that the state hasn't placed his name on the ballot as a presidential candidate.

And they're upset with Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh's suggestion that the party needs to get its act together.

"We have to be sure that we pick the right candidate."

Ron Thornburgh, Kansas secretary of state

Thornburgh continued Tuesday to defend his decision to force a meeting of the State Objections Board to decide whether Buchanan or John Hagelin is the rightful Reform Party nominee. Both filed certificates of nomination with Thornburgh's office.

The board, which includes Thornburgh, Lt. Gov. Gary Sherrer and Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall, decides whether candidates have been improperly included or left off the ballot.

The board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Friday. Expecting a large number of Reform Party members, Thornburgh set the meeting for the Statehouse's spacious Old Supreme Court chamber.

"We're concerned that they're dragging the process out," John Cooney, a St. Marys resident and Reform Party national convention delegate, said Tuesday.

Thornburgh said his actions to deny both certificates of nomination actually settles the issue of who is the Reform Party's nominee more quickly, though he suspects the courts eventually will decide.

"Due diligence is the bottom line," Thornburgh said. "We have to be sure that we pick the right candidate."

Buchanan, a conservative commentator, left the Republican Party last year to run for the Reform Party's nomination.

Hagelin, a nuclear physicist from Fairfield, Iowa, is also the Natural Law Party's presidential candidate, as he was in 1992 and 1996. The Natural Law Party grew out of the teachings of Transcendental Meditation leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Buchanan had the support of the majority of delegates at the party's national convention Aug. 10-13 in Long Beach, Calif. He also has the backing of national party leaders.

Hagelin's supporters contend Buchanan violated Reform Party rules in an attempt to take over the organization and get the party's nomination.

They also portray themselves as longtime activists and supporters of Texas billionaire Ross Perot.

For example, longtime Kansas activist Ida True Terry of Topeka suggested that some Reform Party activists are abandoning the organization because of Buchanan.

But Cooney and Darrel King, a longtime Reform Party activist from Topeka, said most of Perot's early supporters are behind Buchanan. King also served as the party's Kansas chairman for four years.

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