The campaign of Vice President Bush filed a ream of petition challenges Monday against the three other GOP candidates in New York's April 19 primary in part of an effort to increase its large advantage in that state.
Republicans had until Monday night to file specific challenges against qualifying petitions that GOP candidates had filed Feb. 11. If upheld by election officials, the challenges would keep Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) from fielding delegates in 13 of the state's 34 congressional districts.
State campaign heads for the six Democratic presidential candidates voluntarily agreed Monday not to file challenges. Democratic candidates must file their qualifying petitions in the state by midnight tonight.
Bush turned down a similar no-challenges pact proposed by the Dole campaign, with his aides arguing that they had meticulously followed the difficult filing rules and that other campaigns should have to abide by them.
Dole, Bush's main challenger, had met initial signature requirements in only 21 of the congressional districts. In fact, no Dole delegates were slated in the home congressional district of Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.), his leading backer in the state.
Bush, meanwhile, had filed in every district, giving him a distinct edge because New York's GOP delegates will be apportioned according to votes cast in each district. The more districts a candidate can run in, the more delegates he could win among the 136 to be chosen.
Monday's petition challenges by the Bush camp are designed to trim further the number of districts in which Dole can run.