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Buchanan Launches Ballot Bid

April 19, 2000

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Pat Buchanan launched a bid Tuesday to qualify for the presidential ballot in Texas, home of presumptive Republican nominee Gov. George W. Bush and former candidate Ross Perot.

``Texas is the toughest state in the union as far as we’re concerned,″ Buchanan told reporters before a rally at a convention hall in the Dallas suburb of Irving. ``It’s the most demanding in terms of numbers, and in terms of how you have to get on the ballot.″

Buchanan, a former Republican candidate, is seeking the Reform Party nomination and is trying to gather 56,000 signatures by May 8 to earn a spot as an independent on the Texas ballot.

The Reform Party is conducting its own petition drive to win ballot status in Texas. Only the signatures of registered voters who did not vote in a party primary or sign another access petition count toward a candidate’s bid to get on the ballot.

About 100 supporters heard Buchanan speak. Another rally was planned Wednesday in Houston.

``I believe if we get on the ballot in Texas, we will make it in North Carolina two weeks later, in Oklahoma and we will have crossed, really, the Alps in terms of getting on the ballot in 50 states,″ he said. ``It’s a small rally, but it’s a good one.″

The former television talk-show host and speechwriter for President Nixon said Bush is nearly indistinguishable from his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore.

``They’re Xerox copies of one another,″ said Buchanan.

Buchanan criticized Bush’s meeting last week with gay activists and has accused him of wavering on abortion. Buchanan also has criticized Gore’s support for abortion rights.

Buchanan staunchly opposes abortion but has said he will not force an anti-abortion plank into the party platform at the Reform convention in August. Many party activists shun social issues.

Texas also is home for Perot, the billionaire and Reform Party founder who ran for president in 1992 and 1996. Perot has not said whether he will run again this year.

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