Maryland supporters eager for Perot to come back in race

September 26, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Staff Writer

Despite being jilted once, most of Ross Perot's Maryland supporters are eager for him to jump back into the presidential race, according to leaders of his state campaign.

Nine out of 10 Perot volunteers said yes this week when asked if they still wanted Mr. Perot to run for president, some of his supporters said in Annapolis yesterday. They were referring to the results of an unscientific telephone survey they conducted of more than 2,000 of his former workers in Maryland.

In similar numbers, those polled said they agreed with the statement that President Bush and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton were not "realistically and courageously addressing the issues before the American people," according to the survey.

Mr. Perot is reportedly ready to re-enter the race Monday after he meets with his 50 state campaign coordinators in Dallas and then appears on CNN's "Larry King Live."

"I think there was a lot of hurt and anger" when Mr. Perot -- who had never officially declared his candidacy -- pulled out of the race in July, said Joan Vinson, who has been his Maryland coordinator. "But we really are dismayed by the campaign as we see it."

While many political observers think Mr. Perot would have little chance of winning the Nov. 3 election -- in Maryland or nationally -- his supporters here still have hope.

"It's a very strange year, and it gets curiouser and curiouser," Mrs. Vinson said.

In June, at the height of his popularity, a poll of Marylanders showed Mr. Perot running even with the other two candidates here.

In only a few weeks this summer, a small army of volunteers collected some 150,000 signatures on petitions to place Mr. Perot's name on the Maryland ballot -- well over twice the number needed. But the Texas billionaire abandoned the race, saying he could not win.

His supporters have now qualified his name to appear on the ballot in all 50 states.

Gene Mechling, a retiree from Talbot County, says he was heartbroken when Mr. Perot gave up his nascent campaign. But at a meeting yesterday with reporters, Mr. Mechling passed out copies of Mr. Perot's platform and said he still supported him.

"It's more the issues. He's sort of a focal point," Mr. Mechling said. "In my mind, neither one of the candidates will address the issues."

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