National leaders of the Reform Party USA say the party founded in 1992 by billionaire Ross Perot is set to get back on track after the loss of “extreme” supporters of author, columnist and presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.
“The recent exodus of the more extreme followers of Pat Buchanan, who entered the party in 2000, represents a brand new day for us,” said Gerald Moan, the party’s national chairman, in a statement yesterday. “The small number of leaders that resigned distorted the party’s message and broke rules to force their narrow social agenda on it.”
“We now look forward to building the party as it was intended, focusing on our key issues: trade, political and immigration reform,” Moan said.
Officials said Monday that reports erroneously said the Texas chapter of the party dissolved and that other state affiliates had legally disaffiliated with the national party.
According to the statement, “disgruntled” Buchanan supporters left over frustration that “their extremist agenda could not get a majority on the national executive committee.”
Buchanan, a multiple best-selling author, former television pundit and two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996, ran on the Reform Party ticket in 2000 after he failed to win enough support to become the GOP nominee.
But the party’s membership was divided over his selection as standard-bearer, disintegrating into competing factions before the election. In the end, the party did not win enough national support to qualify for matching federal election funds in 2004.
The party was given $12 million in federal election funds in 2000.
Moan said “disinformation” spread on Monday in a separate press release issued by dissenters claiming “the ‘disaffiliation’ of several state parties.” He described that report as “inaccurate,” claiming: “Our state parties are not in any jeopardy and will thrive without all the havoc created by the dissenting faction.”
“Our chairman vigorously applied party rules which frustrated the objectives of those that left,” said Cherilyn Bacon, the party’s national spokeswoman. “These white supremacists, anti-Semites and no-exceptions pro-lifers who were previously booted from the Republican Party did not find a home here in the Reform Party either.”
She said the party will again focus on its core issues – trade reform, term limits, “true” campaign-finance reform and the reformation of “restrictive election laws that do not allow fair and equal ballot access for all parties.”
During the 2000 campaign, Buchanan complained frequently that both major parties – Democrats and Republicans – blocked third-party access to national debates and other forums.
The statement said the party will also refocus on “other priority issues” such as “maintaining sovereignty and immigration reform.”
“The Reform Party is the only party that addresses viable solutions,” Moan said. “Both major parties talk a good talk, but neither major party has demonstrated that it has the guts to do the walk to reform anything.”
“Americans know there is corruption in the system and that many politicians primarily protect their own interests,” he said.
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