Perot’s Loyalists Stunned, Saddened
Undated (AP) _ Ross Perot’s supporters, who had mounted an unprecedented grass-roots presidential campaign, were shocked, disappointed and hurt today at their candidate’s decision to drop his bid for the presidency.
″I’m appalled,″ said Tim Murphy, Perot’s campaign coordinator in Fargo, N.D.
″It was more than a total shock,″ said Linda Stoval, who had just been named his Wyoming campaign manager.
″We are just sick over this,″ said 78-year-old Susie Walton of Richmond, Va. ″We put our heart and soul in it. If Bush wins, I’ll never forgive him. I think he’s let us down terribly.″
″I thought he had more guts than to drop out this early,″ said Dick Rose, vice chairman of Perot’s Arizona volunteers, who was in Dallas. He said he would go home and apologize.
″Everybody’s disappointed, but we’re not giving up,″ said Jerry Seward, a Perot worker in Rochester, N.Y. ″We may start another movement.″
Workers who had been spurred to join Perot’s independent campaign by their anger at the political system and the excitement of his can-do image were left to ponder their next move.
At Perot headquarters in Boston, volunteers locked reporters out and put signs across the glass door to keep people from looking in.
″Right now we just want to be together,″ said Martin Halper, a volunteer.
Myron Jensen, a Perot volunteer at his Springfield, Mo., headquarters, said Perot’s loyal workers felt abandoned.
″I think he’s letting us down,″ Jensen said.
Sensing collectors’ items, visitors rushed to the Springfield office to snare what was left of Perot buttons, bumper stickers and other traditional campaign paraphernalia of this most untraditional campaign.
Some tried to ponder whether they would support newly nominated Democrat Bill Clinton or turn to Republican President Bush.
″I’m going to have to do some studying,″ Jensen said.
Some supporters said they couldn’t agree with Perot’s claim - perhaps to cover the embarrassment of dropping the campaign - that the Democratic Party had been ″revitalized.″
″I couldn’t disagree with him more. I see no revitalization at all in a party that nominates a man whose economic program is a $200 billion tax increase,″ Murphy said.
But he acknowledged Perot may have been right that his candidacy could have created turmoil by throwing the election to the House of Representatives.
Perot’s place on the fall ballot was already secured in 24 states, often by several times the number of signatures needed on petitions.
Some workers had dedicated months of their lives to the Perot dream. Seward, in Rochester, had been working on the campaign full-time since April and said he couldn’t shift support to Bush or Clinton.
″We may write to Ross Perot and ask him to reconsider,″ Seward said. ″If he gets 30,000 postcards or telephone calls, who knows.″