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The News & Advance (Lynchburg, VA)
August 23, 2000


By Chelyen Davis
The News & Advance

A day after Pat Buchanan's faction of the Reform Party filed a court motion to bar opponents within the party from using the party's name, those opponents say they're prepared to fight for Reform Party principles.

Sue Harris DeBauche is the Virginia state chairwoman for the Reform Party, elected before the party's factions widened into a final split earlier this month at the national convention. She and John Hagelin, an Iowa physicist nominated to run for president by some members of the Reform Party, are named in the motion filed by Buchanan supporters Tuesday.

The motion, to be heard next Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg, seeks to stop DeBauche and other proponents of Hagelin from using the Reform Party name, Web site or money and from trying to get Hagelin on the state ballot as the Reform Party's presidential candidate.

The motion has its roots in a party split that had been growing for months and culminated in a walk-out during the party's national convention two weeks ago. Buchanan's supporters claimed they had enough delegate votes to nominate Buchanan for president; opposing delegates left the convention, staged their own and nominated Hagelin. Now the fight is over which side is the real Reform Party. At stake is $12.5 million in federal election money.

DeBauche says her side is the real one, and she plans to fight Buchanan's motion. She also says the attorney who filed the motion, Dale Cooter, was fired from the Reform Party by its executive committee on July 29.

"We are the legal party and Pat Buchanan and Dale Cooter are trying to steal" the party's name and money, DeBauche said. "I am the legal state chair. These (Hagelin and running mate Nat Goldhaber) are the candidates. We are the party. These people have been involved three to six months. I have been in this movement for eight years." ...

The motion seeks to stop DeBauche and Hagelin supporters from trying to get their candidate's name on the ballot in Virginia for the November presidential election. Virginia requires 10,000 signatures on petitions for a candidate to be on the ballot, and the deadline is Friday.

Buchanan's supporters have said they are close to the required 10,000, and DeBauche said Hagelin's supporters are as well. She said the signatures are due to be counted today and she'll know for sure if Hagelin has enough support to get on the ballot.

"We try for double, and at least half more than what we need," she said.

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