Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Dole Ekes out Victory with Buchanan Trailing Close Behind: Gram Ends Presidential Bid after Iowa

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Dole Ekes out Victory with Buchanan Trailing Close Behind: Gram Ends Presidential Bid after Iowa

Article excerpt

Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kans.) held off a late and surprising surge by Pat Buchanan to survive the key first test of the Election`96 campaign, the Iowa Caucuses. The Caucuses marked the first test in the quest for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Dole lost the overwhelming lead he had commanded for months to edge Buchanan 26 percent to 23 percent. Former U.S. Secretary of Education and Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander finished third with 18 percent, swamping wealthy publishing magnate Steve Forbes, who finished fourth with only 10 percent.

Ames, Iowa Mayor Larry Curtis, a member of NLC's Board of Directors and NLC's Election `96 Task Force, said: "Forbes' campaign balloon collapsed when his message turned ugly. In contrast, the vote rewarded the two candidates who did not stoop to personal attacks: Alexander and Buchanan. They spoke to issues instead of attacking other candidates."

Curtis noted that Alexander easily won the Election`96 Kids' Vote in Iowa, whereas Dole achieved his victory by garnering the over-65 vote. According to Curtis, there was little discussion by any of the candidates about how they would address the federal deficit and current budget impasse, the cost of unfunded federal mandates, or public safety.

The Caucuses claimed their first major victim of 1996 when Texas Senator Phil Gramm, who finished fifth, announced he was dropping out of the race.

The last days of the campaign were especially volatile. Curtis noted that the overwhelming lead Dole has amassed in the previous six months was evaporating, while the Forbes' candidacy rose from the flat fields of Iowa to 20 percent in less that two weeks. …

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