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Seattle Times
June 10, 2000


by Andrew DeMillo
Seattle Times staff reporter

Physicist John Hagelin brought his dual campaigns for president to Seattle last night, speaking to a crowd of 600 at Seattle Unity Church.

Hagelin, who is stumping for the presidential nominations of both the Natural Law and Reform parties, said he's seeking a coalition between the two parties before the November general election.

In an interview before yesterday's lecture, Hagelin said his views, which focus on reforming health care, campaign financing and education, appeal to a wider range of voters than Buchanan's. Buchanan, the former TV commentator, has been a lightning rod for issues such as gay rights, abortion and free trade, Hagelin said.

After 20 years of grabbing the spotlight, Buchanan has peaked and is slipping in polls, Hagelin said.

"He's losing ground quickly," he said. "He's traveling the country speaking to crowds of 50 or 100. I'm speaking to crowds of 500 and 600 each night."

Nonetheless, Buchanan has been gaining support among delegates in his bid for the party's presidential nomination.

Indications that Reform Party founder and Texas billionaire Ross Perot will not run against Buchanan have fueled some predictions that the former Republican candidate will win the Reform Party nomination--and $12.5 million in federal campaign funds with it.

But a national primary the party has scheduled for later this summer, which may include online balloting, may hurt Buchanan's campaign, Hagelin predicted.

"We are reaching out to the frustrated nonvoters who are waiting for a reason to vote," Hagelin said. "We're reaching out to a much broader base than Buchanan's message of exclusivity." ...

Rae Larson, a member of the Washington Reform Party's Central Committee, said party leaders have met with Hagelin. Larson, a Seattle therapist, said she prefers Hagelin, but the state party won't endose either candidate until the national primary. By focusing on policy issues such as campaign finance and health reform rather than social issues such as abortion and gay rights, Hagelin is following the original ideals of the Reform Party, Larson said.

"When (Buchanan) starts talking social issues, I just turn off completely," she said.

Hagelin's lecture last night was part of a 25-city tour he's been on since last month, combining his two favorite topics--politics and spirituality. He spoke last night with Neale Donald Walsch, the author of "Conversations with God," a new-age best-seller. Blending spirituality, science and political activism is a foundation of the Natural Law Party, whose presidential nomination Hagelin also seeks.

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