Post-Perot Patriot Party moves closer to state recognition 6,000 signatures needed by March

December 07, 1992|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,Staff Writer

There is life after Ross Perot in Howard County.

The Patriot Party, a new national political group with core members in Howard, is halfway toward winning official recognition from the state of Maryland.

During the November election, party workers picked up about 3,000 signatures in a petition drive for state endorsement, said communications director T. R. Sundaram of Columbia. At least 600 of those signatures came from Howard County.

The organization has a total of 6,000 names so far.

MA Mr. Sundaram expects the party to obtain the additional 6,000

needed to become official by March 1993.

State recognition would allow the Patriots to place candidates for president and vice-president on ballots in general elections.

The Patriot Party emerged from the ashes of the Ross Perot petition drive last summer after Mr. Perot withdrew from the race.

Party meetings in Howard County typically draw about 30 people.

Their goal is to field candidates committed to their basic principles -- reducing the national debt, limiting terms of office for elected officials, reforming government and rebuilding the nation's industrial job base.

One day soon, they hope to put Patriot candidates on ballots for local and state office.

That, however, won't be easy.

To get on the ballot for those offices, the party must develop a membership of 220,000 -- or 10 percent of the registered voters in Maryland.

"It's a monumental task," Mr. Sundaram said. "That's one of the problems with the two-party system."

Mr. Sundaram speculated that if, by mid-1993, there is no movement to reduce the national debt and Mr. Perot endorses formation of a third party, Patriot membership would balloon.

"In no time whatsoever we will have those signatures," he said.

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