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What's Happening

The Columbus Dispatch
September 23, 2000



By James Bradshaw
Dispatch Statehouse Reporter

A presidential candidate running under two party labels and as an independent said yesterday his status is so unusual that he will be on some state ballots twice.

But John Hagelin said his multiple political identities shouldn't create problems for voters.

"I don't think any American will ever confuse me with Patrick R. Buchanan,'' Hagelin said.

The nuclear physicist from Maharishi University is on ballots in some states as the Reform Party candidate as the result of a fissure when Buchanan took over the party's convention last month in Long Beach, Calif.

Many Reform Party members, including its founder, Ross Perot, held a separate convention that nominated Hagelin.

The result is that in some states, such as Ohio, he is the Natural Law Party candidate; in others, such as Minnesota, he is the Reform Party candidate; and in still others he is listed as an independent.

In Colorado and Washington, his name will be on the ballot twice, he said.

Hagelin said that is not a problem because votes under either label will be counted for him....

Hagelin said his campaign has raised $4 million and expects to generate an additional $3 million to run campaigns in the 42 states where his name is on the ballot.

Most of the spending will be for cheaper radio and cable television ads, but in the four states of his strongest support -- Ohio, California, New York and Washington -- a few ads will air on network TV stations, he said.

The objective is to get 5 million votes, roughly 5 percent of the expected turnout, he said.

"Five million is the magic number, because it brings us national-party status for the 2004 election.''

Hagelin said Democrats and Republicans control the election process through rules that make it difficult for third parties to get on ballots. Another hurdle is the minimum of 15 percent in national opinion polls to participate in presidential debates.

"Abraham Lincoln would not have been included in his debates had there been a 15 percent threshhold then,'' Hagelin said.

He said he will promote:

  • Including prevention practices in health-care programs.
  • Reforming campaign finance to end soft money and contributions from political action committees.
  • Ending dependence on foreign oil through energy conservation and expanding renewable energy sources.
  • Experimental use of school vouchers for students from chronically underachieving schools.
  • Bans on genetically altered food products until testing can determine whether they are safe.