Lamar Alexander pulls out of race

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The Independent Online
THE FIELD of Republican candidates for the Presidency narrowed yesterday, as a long- time contender finally acknowledged reality and withdrew.

Lamar Alexander, a former Governor of Tennessee, had continued to campaign after the 1996 election, in the hope that he could maintain some momentum. He had made it a priority to win in Iowa, where he had visited virtually every town. But in the Ames straw poll in Iowa on Saturday, Mr Alexander came in sixth out of nine candidates. Yesterday he was set to withdraw, his office said.

He had been loved or loathed by the media for his folksy campaign, which in 1996 highlighted his plaid shirt, a symbol that he was a little more down to earth than his opponents. He dropped that for the 2000 campaign, but maintained a black and red plaid theme to his campaign literature. He had been having trouble raising funds, and would have struggled to maintain his campaign. Most of his supporters will now probably drift to George W Bush, the winner of the Ames straw poll.

Mr Alexander's exit leaves a field of nine: Mr Bush, Steve Forbes, Elizabeth Dole, Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan, Dan Quayle, Alan Keyes, Orrin Hatch and John McCain, who did not contest the Ames straw poll.

Mr Quayle has said he will stay in the race, but his position is all but hopeless. Speculation is rising that Mr Buchanan may join the Reform Party.

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