Reports Say Hart Will Quit Race
WASHINGTON (AP) _ One-time Democratic presidential front-runner Gary Hart intends to end his campaign on Friday after failing to generate significant support for his re- run at the nomination, sources said today.
It will be the second time Hart has quit the 1988 race. He withdrew last May after questions were raised about his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice.
He re-entered in December, vowing to ″let the people decide″ his fate.
And they did, relegating him to the back of the pack in the primary states to date.
Sources speaking only on condition of anonymity said Hart would not endorse any of the surviving contenders when he makes his withdrawal announcement at a news conference on Friday in Denver.
In Lansing, Mich., George Sallade, co-chairman of Michigan Friends for Gary Hart, said Hart’s speech scheduled for Friday to a Michigan State University political science class had been canceled. He said he expected a withdrawal announcement.
‴What this shows is that the American people expect the occupant of the White House to be saintly,″ Sallade said.
The Hart campaign suffered an additional blow Wednesday when Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and state Democratic Party Chairman Buie Seawell threw their support behind Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. Both previously had been Hart supporters, and Seawell once headed Hart’s Senate office in Washington, D.C.
The reports of Hart’s potential withdrawal followed a Federal Election Commission announcement that Hart had not received enough support to continue to be eligible for federal campaign funds.
FEC spokesman Fred Eiland said the commission would notify the Hart campaign that it must file a financial report and said that as of March 24, Hart no longer will be eligible for matching federal campaign funds.
Eiland said the federal matching funds could be reinstated if Hart were to receive at least 20 percent of the vote in a future primary. On Super Tuesday, Hart’s best showing was 5 percent in Texas.
Hart has $500,000 left in federal matching money.