Smith Nixes Taxpayers Party Backing
By Ann S. Kim
In a breakfast speech, Smith said he would not seek the Taxpayers Party's endorsement at its nominating convention next month because he wanted to maintain his political independence.
But afterwards, he said his wife, Mary Jo, was admitted to Catholic Medical Center in Manchester on Tuesday with chest and arm pains and indicated her health could affect his plans.
``I still have a presidential campaign. At the moment, I haven't made a decision today,'' he said. ``Right now, I'm focused on my family situation.''
Smith did not explain his split with the Taxpayers Party, which he warmly endorsed, except to say he had read George Washington's writings and decided he did not want to participate in partisan politics.
``I'm an independent, and I'm enjoying it, frankly. I feel free,'' he told a roomful of business leaders at ``Politics and Eggs.''
``He will make an announcement in the next couple of weeks about his presidential candidacy,'' spokeswoman Karen Hickey said.
Smith, a second-term senator whose campaign for the Republican presidential nomination had languished even in his home state of New Hampshire, announced on the Senate floor last month he was leaving the GOP on grounds it had abandoned its conservative base.
The Taxpayers Party, which had a candidate on the ballot in 39 states in 1996, would have given Smith an organizational base to continue his campaign.
© 1999 The Associated Press