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A Republican lawyer and supporter of President Bush who infiltrated a meeting of Howard Dean supporters has been nominated to lead a local campaign for the Democratic presidential candidate.

“I’m basically now head of Central Mississippians for Dean,” J. Kevin Broughton told John McCaslin, whose “Inside the Beltway” column is published by the Washington Times.

Broughton said he informed the Jackson, Miss., gathering he was a Republican who wanted to see Dean win the nomination, adding, “I had to take charge of the meeting.”

“They were all talking about how [President] Bush lied about WMDs [weapons of mass destruction] and how sick it was that Arnold [Schwarzenegger] got elected [governor] in California.

“‘Listen,’ I said, ‘it’ll be a four-man race at most by Super Tuesday. Dean will be one … [but] we’ll have an incredibly low turnout. We need 25 percent of the black vote, and that will get us the 30 [percent] to 32 percent plurality that will take the delegates.’”

Broughton said he was met with blank stares, according to McCaslin.

“I’m trying to walk them through the mechanics of winning a primary,” he told the columnist. “‘Look, let’s divide up the counties in the middle third of Mississippi. Each of us can contact the Democrat county chairs, and get the voter and donor lists.’”

McCaslin said the handful of Dean supporters on hand included a political consultant who was state chairman of Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign, a retired Army colonel, a local broadcaster and a pair of middle-aged women.

“The retired colonel said, ‘Kevin, tell us what it is that has disaffected you with the current administration.’

“‘Not a darn thing,’ I said, finally getting through. ‘My motivation may be different than yours, but our goal is the same, at least until next summer. Your guy can’t be president if he doesn’t win the nomination. I want him to get the nomination.’”

Broughton was named chairman of the Dean club, which meets again next week, McCaslin said.

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