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Reform Party Reaffirms Nader Is Nominee

O'Hara, who recently moved the party's headquarters to his hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss., said in an interview that he courted Nader to top the ticket.

A wealthy perennial candidate, O'Hara has run unsuccessfully for various offices as a Democrat, Republican, Reform Party member and Independent. He once ran for governor against his father. During a 2002 campaign, O'Hara argued for the dissolution of the FBI, the CIA and the U.S. Department of Education to the Hattiesburg American newspaper. He also assisted with the legal defense of Sam Bowers, a former Ku Klux Klan leader convicted in 1998 of ordering the murder a civil rights worker in the 1960s.


Reform Party candidate Ralph Nader campaigns in Des Moines on Wednesday. He sought presidency on Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000. (Steve Pope -- AP)



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In an interview in which he stressed that he was speaking for himself and not his party, O'Hara, who is running for Congress this year, said he favors a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and that "anyone who violates it should get the death penalty."

"The party is basically now a vehicle for people on the fringe like O'Hara, and I guess, Nader, to pursue their personal ambitions," said L. Sandy Maisel, a professor at Maine's Colby College who studies third parties.

Zeese decline to comment on O'Hara, except to say: "Look at [Democratic National Committee Chairman] Terry McAuliffe and his corporate ties. I am sure he has more skeletons."

O'Hara said the party will focus on Florida, which has a Sept. 1 deadline for filing papers on Nader's behalf, and where Nader received more than 97,000 votes in the 2000 race. The Ballot Project Inc., a group of attorneys working to keep Nader off the ballot in numerous states, is considering asking the FEC to rule that the Reform Party is no longer a national party and should not be able to place Nader on the Nov. 2 ballot.

But according to O'Hara, the party is on the rebound and is circulating petitions that will allow it to gain ballot lines in Rhode Island and four other states he would not name.

"Keep in mind, 80 out of 100 people did not vote for a Democrat or a Republican in the [primaries], so that is who we are appealing to," O'Hara said. He added that the first batch of signs listing Nader and running mate Peter Miguel Camejo above the Reform Party name were to be distributed to Florida last week.


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