Friday, March 26, 2004

Nader Maneuvering To Get on N.C. Ballot

By ROB CHRISTENSEN, Staff Writer of the Raleigh News & Observer:

RALEIGH -- Presidential candidate Ralph Nader said Thursday that he would form a new political party, called the Populist Party, to help him get on the ballot in North Carolina and several other states.
The longtime consumer advocate said the strategy, which cuts by 40,000 the number of signatures his campaign must gather, is designed to get around North Carolina's election law, which makes it difficult for anyone but a Democrat or a Republican to get on the ballot.

"Why are the two parties out to exclude their competition?" Nader asked about 200 people at N.C. State University, his first stop on a two-day swing through the state. "What are they afraid of?"

Striking a populist note, Nader bashed corporations and said globalization is costing the state textile and furniture jobs....

He also said that the gulf between the rich and the poor is growing and that it is increasingly difficult to tell a difference between Democrats and Republicans because both parties are beholden to corporate interests....

He dismissed criticism from Democrats that his candidacy would hurt Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

When he ran as the Green Party candidate in 2000, Nader won 3 percent of the vote nationwide. But he won enough votes to tip two states, Florida and New Hampshire, to Bush, assuming that most of Nader's votes would have gone to Democrat Al Gore.

This year, Nader said, he thinks he will draw equally from Democrats and Republicans. He said he would appeal to conservatives who dislike the deficit spending and the loss of manufacturing jobs under Bush.

Nader promised to "open a second front against the great corporation in the White House, disguised as a human being called George Bush."

But there were skeptics such as Adam Kraft, an NCSU senior from Boone. "My concern is that he will pull votes away from Kerry," said Kraft, an independent who votes Democratic.

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