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Trump Plans To Join Reform Party

By Ron Fournier
AP Political Writer
Sunday, October 24, 1999; 9:07 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON Real estate tycoon Donald Trump plans to join the Reform Party in advance of a possible campaign for the presidency, beating Pat Buchanan to the punch by hours.

Trump, a lifelong Republican, said in a telephone interview he signed the necessary papers to change his voter registration to the Independence Party the Reform Party affiliate in New York.

Trump said he will file the documents Monday morning, just before Buchanan is expected to announce his Reform Party bid in suburban Washington.

"It's always great to beat somebody to the punch," Trump said.

Trump said he has not decided whether to seek the presidency, though he has made arrangement to qualify for an early deadline to get ballot access in California. He also has formed an exploratory committee to help him decide by January whether to run.

"This is another step in the process. It's another step toward making a positive decision, but I haven't made that decision yet," Trump said.

Trump casts himself as a middle-of-the-road politician would offer tax cuts to the middle class, ban unregulated "soft money" in political campaigns and negotiate tougher trade deals.

"The Republican Party has just moved too far to the extreme right. The Democrats are too far to the left. I believe the Reform Party can be the true centrist party. And that's very much in line with my thinking," Trump said.

He has called Buchanan's views "prehistoric," and expects a cake walk to the nomination if he gets in the race.

"I think I beat Buchanan easily," said Trump, who also appeared Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."

© 1999 The Associated Press

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