The Reform Party USA held a nomination and endorsement session via teleconference on May 10 and 11, 2004. The party Ross Perot founded has shrunk to a virtual non-entity on the national scene, but still has some ballot access lines. It is now headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and chaired by Shawn O'Hara, a frequent candidate for office in Mississippi.
Several months earlier, back on February 25, 2004, the Reform Party National Committee directed O'Hara to contact the Nader presidential campaign to discuss the possibility of his running for the Reform Party nomination.
Six candidates sought the Reform Party endorsement:
Ted Weill - chair of the Reform Party of Mississippi; industrialist
from Tylertown, MS (President and CEO of Universal Wearparts Inc.)
Ralph Nader - consumer rights attorney
John Buchanan - journalist and author
Richard Green - secretary of the Reform Party USA; talk show host and newspaper editor
Michael Peroutka - the leading candidate to become the Constitution Party presidential nominee; attorney
Joe Turner - African-American healthcare advocate and attorney from Boston, MA
On the evening of May 10, the six candidates made speeches each about 20 minutes long via teleconference call to the voting members of the Reform Party. (The public and press could also listen in). In his speech Ted Weill withdrew and threw his support to Nader.
On May 11 the vote was held from about 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Central
Time. The lowest vote-getter was eliminated in each round.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2004
This evening, at approximately 8:45 PM MST, the Reform Party USA Presidential Nomination/Endorsement Session voted to endorse and nominate Ralph Nader for President of the United States. This vote, which occurred by teleconference on the third ballot, was by a margin exceeding 2/3. The first runner-up was Michael Peroutka, candidate for the Constitution Party.
Mr. Nader will automatically gain ballot access in those states in which affiliate State Party Organizations of the Reform Party USA have ballot access. In other states, Mr. Nader will gain assistance from local Reform Party affiliates for the petitioning process. Since the Reform Party of Arizona lacks ballot access, we will be helping Mr. Nader in his petitioning efforts.
Orville R. Weyrich, Jr., Chairman of the Reform Party of Arizona noted that both Mr. Nader and first-runner-up Peroutka share a strong commitment to addressing the loss of American jobs to ill-conceived free trade agreements such as NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO.
The Reform Party USA Presidential Nomination/Endorsement Session will continue tomorrow evening to consider nominating a backup candidate as a contingency. Candidates to be considered include:
Ted Weill of Mississippi
and a Reform Party member;
John Howard Buchanan, a journalist and former Republican primary candidate for President in New Hampshire (Buchanan is not related to Patrick J. Buchanan, other than having the same Scottish clan name). He has indicated that he is in the process of reregistering as Reform in Florida;
Richard C. Green, journalist and Executive Editor of Rumor Mill News on the worldwide web, Reform Party member from Connecticut, and national Secretary;
Michael Peroutka, candidate for the Constitution Party;
Joseph Turner of Massachusetts, a lawyer and educator;
Mr. Weyrich, in a speech
addressing the Nomination/Endorsement Session, emphasized the need for
all the third parties to come together rather than fragmenting their efforts.
He explained that the Democrats and Republicans often use social issues
such as abortion and homosexuality as "wedge issues" to distract voters
from how the citizens of the United States are being sold-out to multinational
corporate concerns that have little regard for our constitutional form
of government and Bill of Rights. Mr. Weyrich concluded by urging support
for both Mr. Nader and Mr. Peroutka.