Forbes to withdraw from presidential race

by Tammy Tucker

After losing three consecutive primary-season contests, conservative Republican Steve Forbes will announce today he is dropping his presidential bid, according to campaign sources.
Forbes is expected to withdraw in a press conference at 2:30 p.m. today.
“It’s a surprise that he didn’t do any better,” said William Flanigan, University political science professor.
Six months ago, Forbes looked like he would be a strong contender for the nomination, Flanigan added.
This campaign was Forbes’ second attempt for the nomination, one he had been pursuing since 1995. According to news sources, he spent about $60 million of his own publishing fortune on the 1996 and 2000 campaigns.
Financing his own campaign allowed Forbes to remain in the running much longer than other high-profile Republican candidates such as Elizabeth Dole and Dan Quayle, who withdrew before the contest began because of lack of funds. Forbes is the seventh Republican candidate to withdraw from the race.
Forbes built a strong grass-roots organization of conservative voters during this campaign with his strong pro-morality, pro-life, anti-establishment and flat-tax platforms.
If elected president, Forbes said he would ban abortion, bring morality back to the office and end tax corruption.
In debates, speeches and ads, Forbes attacked Republican front-runner Texas Gov. George W. Bush for being too moderate on social and fiscal issues in an effort to make Bush more responsive to the ultra-conservative wing of the party.
But Forbes’ message didn’t resonate with voters, said Michael Franklin, president of the University Republicans.
In Tuesday’s Delaware primary, Forbes placed a disappointing third after Bush and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Forbes won the state’s primary in 1996 by being the only candidate to campaign there.
In Iowa’s precinct caucuses Jan. 24, Forbes received a surprising 30 percent of the vote, finishing second to Bush. But in the Feb. 1 New Hampshire primary, Forbes finished a distant third, after Bush and McCain, with only 13 percent of the votes.
Only three Republican candidates are left: Bush, McCain and conservative Alan Keyes, who is not considered a serious contender for the nomination.
Forbes’ departure is expected to give Bush a bump with conservative voters, although campaign advisers say Forbes is not expected to endorse any of the other Republican candidates.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tammy Tucker welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3216.