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Hart Poised To Leave Presidential Race Second Time

March 10, 1988

DENVER (AP) _ Gary Hart, who three months ago re-entered the Democratic presidential race to ″let the people decide,″ has gotten the message and will call it quits on Friday, sources said Thursday.

The former Colorado senator polled no more than 5 percent of the vote in the Super Tuesday primaries and won no convention delegates. The day after the primaries, the Federal Election Commission announced Hart no longer was eligible for further federal matching funds.

His departure from the race, expected to come at a Friday morning news conference in Denver, will mark his second departure from the 1988 Democratic race.

At a highly charged news conference last May 8, a defiant Hart, at the time considered the Democratic front-runner, quit the race following published reports about his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice.

When he rejoined the race in December, Hart immediately shot to the top of the polls. But pollsters cautioned Hart’s numbers could be traced to name identification rather than support and early contests bore that out - Hart finished last in crucial early races in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sources speaking only on condition of anonymity said Hart would not endorse any of the surviving contenders when he makes his withdrawal announcement.

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 when Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and state Democratic Party Chairman Buie Seawell threw their support behind Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis on Wednesday. Both previously had been Hart supporters, and Seawell once headed Hart’s Senate office in Washington, D.C.

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