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Perot Has Two Veeps _ And Neither Wants the Job

June 10, 1996

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ross Perot’s ``stand-in″ running mate in the West is a high-tech businessman who says he has no interest in the job. ``Absolutely not,″ says James S. Campbell.

Ross Perot’s stand-in running mate in the East is a high-tech businessman who says he has no interest in the job. ``Absolutely not,″ says Carl Owenby.

The Reform Party says it chose two running mates to emphasize that both of them _ and Perot himself _ are just holding a place on state ballots until the party decides on its ticket at a nominating convention this summer.

But Perot has not ruled out running himself. In 1992, James Stockdale also was initially billed as vice presidential stand-in before he became the official No. 2.

Campbell, 69, said he’s just doing his old pal Perot a favor by lending his name to the ballot drive.

``I’m a friend of Ross Perot’s and he needs stand-ins for some states in order to petition to get on the ballot,″ says Campbell, who was Perot’s boss at IBM in the early 1960s.

Campbell, who lives on the Palos Verdes Peninsula southwest of Los Angeles, is the stand-in running mate in Western states, including Washington, Hawaii and Texas. He was surprised when a reporter told him he is also listed as No. 2 in South Dakota. ``That’s quite possible,″ he said.

Owenby, 44, of Quincy, Fla., became the East Coast stand-in after first getting involved in Perot’s 1992 campaign and the Reform Party petition committee. He has worked with the campaign and been involved in Perot’s United We Stand group, which was organized after the 1992 elections.

The Reform Party expects Owenby to be on the ballot in Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois and Iowa. He also is likely to be listed in Mississippi, Connecticut, Kentucky, Vermont and Alabama.

Owenby _ like Campbell and Perot himself _ made his career in computer technology. He co-owns a computer consulting business and says he has no political ambitions.

``Mine is strictly a name on a piece of paper as a stand-in until the party can nominate their presidential and vice-presidential candidates,″ Owenby said. ``I have never been interested in running for any political office. The older I get, it diminishes below zero.″

Perot’s name, or the Reform Party he built, is on the ballot in 13 states so far. The running mates are being tacked on in states requiring that a vice presidential contender also be listed on campaign documents.

Russ Verney, national coordinator for the Reform Party, said there is ``absolutely zero chance″ that Campbell or Owenby will ultimately be the vice presidential nominee.

But their stand-in status may shed some light on the sort of person Perot would like to see on the Reform ticket: Both are loyal, self-directed men who were attracted early on to Perot’s political organization.

Campbell was a marketing manager at IBM more than 30 years ago when Perot emerged as ``an outstanding sales guy for us″ in Dallas, he recalled.

Their relationship expanded into politics when Campbell helped Perot start United We Stand on the West Coast. He is now chairman emeritus of the Reform Party in California but declined to say whether he wants to see Perot run.

``If he wants to run, a tremendous number of people in the organization would support him,″ added Campbell, who is now managing director of a firm that helps small, ailing technology companies.

Campbell also praised former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, who said Sunday he was prepared to seek the Reform Party presidential nomination if Perot declined it. But Lamm ruled out running for vice president on a ticket led by Perot.

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