|California||11,174||6,161||Buchanan has slight edge in fractured state|
|Florida||2,981||929||Buchanan heavily favored|
|Texas||1,877||705||Shootout between Perot loyalists and Buchanan brigades|
|Oklahoma||1,237||521||Strong Buchanan state; outgoing Rep. Tom Coburn is atop Buchanan's VP list|
|Maine||915||464||Buchanan holds solid lead|
|Indiana||773||277||Hagelin building lead|
|Pennsylvania||752||308||Hagelin breakthrough possible|
|Michigan||726||296||Buchanan still favored|
|Kansas||678||374||Conservatives like Buchanan, but Hagelin has active grass-roots organization|
|Colorado||318||1,422||Hagelin strength growing|
Source: Ballot Access News, state party officials
The nominee will be chosen in a national primary, which started Wednesday and ends Aug. 9. More than 1 million ballots are being mailed to Reform Party members and other registered voters. Based on reports from rank-and-file activists, party leaders expect from 100,000-250,000 ballots to be returned. The winner will be announced at the party's Aug. 10-13 convention in Long Beach, Calif.
Buchanan has a strong core of conservative supporters developed from his years as a TV commentator and Republican presidential candidate. But that strength is being challenged in some key states by factions of Reform Party activists who are loyal to party founder Ross Perot and oppose Buchanan's positions on social issues like abortion that the party has avoided. Those people back Hagelin in an "anyone-but-Buchanan" effort.
"He (Buchanan) never saw this coming," Hagelin said. "He thought he would be the only one on the primary ballot." Hagelin was the 1992 and 1996 nominee of the Natural Law Party and will be its nominee again this year.
Ballots are being sent to all registered Reform Party members, as well as voters who signed petitions this year to get the party on state ballots and any registered voter who requested one.
About 250,000 of the eligible primary voters live in California and New York, the biggest prizes. Hagelin says he will campaign only in those states until voting ends. But Reform Party leaders say other states crucial to determining the nominee are Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Ohio, Maine, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kansas....
Buchanan's conservative view of social issues, on which the Reform Party is silent, alienated some members of the party's old guard. They began to shift their support to Hagelin in late June after Perot closed the door on a third candidacy.
While neutral Reform officials give Buchanan the lead for the nomination, several factors have made the contest competitive:
Some neutral party leaders call the race volatile. Ohio party chairman Frank Reed says it looks like Buchanan and Hagelin each have a quarter of the vote, with the rest undecided. "A lot of voters who are middle, centrist-type people might not want to vote for a conservative position," Reed says.
Jim Brown, vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Reform Party, says there is "strong competition" in his state and many voters are undecided. "It should be very interesting," he says.
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