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Dole to announce exploratory committee for 2000 race

March 9, 1999
Web posted at: 2:34 p.m. EST (1934 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 9) -- Elizabeth Dole is preparing to take another step toward running for president Wednesday by announcing the formation of a presidential exploratory committee, the official precursor to seeking the Republican nomination in 2000.

In this story:

A wide variety of experience
Not the first woman to run

She will make the announcement in Des Moines, Iowa, and will then travel to Nevada, Arizona, New Hampshire and finally to her hometown of Salisbury, North Carolina, on Saturday.

Elizabeth Dole is gearing up for a presidential campaign by announcing the formation of an exploratory committee  

Mrs. Dole, 62, is the wife of former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1996. She impressed many campaigning for her husband and has long been mentioned as a possible Republican nominee for president or vice president.

In New Hampshire, the home of the nation's first presidential primary, Mrs. Dole told an audience in February, "If I run, this will be an important reason why: because the United States of America deserves a government worthy of her people."

In that speech, she broadly outlined conservative themes, attacking big government and pushing for tax reform and better schools, but has yet to offer specifics of what a Dole presidential campaign would offer.

She will join a growing Republican field for the 2000 race. Texas Gov. George W. Bush announced the formation of an exploratory committee on Sunday and former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander formally announced his candidacy Tuesday.

A wide variety of experience

Others in the field who have formally announced or signaled their interest include conservative activist Gary Bauer, television commentator Pat Buchanan, Ohio Rep. John Kasich, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes, Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Vice President Dan Quayle and New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith.

A Harvard-trained lawyer originally from North Carolina, Mrs. Dole has never held elected office. But she has a wide variety of experience in the federal bureaucracy since coming to Washington in the mid-1960s, including serving five years as a member of the Federal Trade Commission before joining the Cabinet during the Reagan and Bush years.

Mrs. Dole served in the Cabinet as Transportation secretary from 1983 to 1987 and as Labor secretary from 1989 to 1990. She headed the Red Cross since 1991 until she resigned her post in January.

She gained extensive campaign experience working on her husband's presidential races. She fought for and secured full campaign staffs and was herself a tireless campaigner.

January polls suggested she and Bush, the son of former President George Bush, would be front-runners for the Republican nomination. Both hold a polling edge over Vice President Al Gore, the leading Democratic candidate.

Not the first woman to run

But Mrs. Dole will need to raise at least $20 million to win the nomination. It is a task many say she is up to, though Bush and Alexander would most likely be competing with her for many of the same donors.

A national movement to draft Dole into the race was launched in December 1998 by Republican activist Earl Cox, who in 1996 tried to draft retired Gen. Colin Powell for a White House run. The movement started to shut down on Monday, declaring success.

If she ran, Mrs. Dole would join only a handful of women who have made presidential bids. Victoria Woodhull announced her candidacy in 1870, long before women even had the right to vote.

In 1964, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith's name was put into nomination at the Republican convention. And Shirley Chisholm ran in the 1972 Democratic primaries while Geraldine Ferraro won the number two slot on the 1984 Democratic ticket.

Others have explored the possibility but ultimately did not take the leap. Rep. Pat Schroeder seriously considered running in 1988 but opted out, as did former Labor Secretary Lynn Martin in 1996.


Elizabeth Dole outlines conservative themes in New Hampshire speech (2-9-99)

Dole does Iowa swing in 'non-campaign' (2-23-99)


New Hampshire sets February 1 primary date (9-28-99)

Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain (9-28-99)

Bradley unveils $65 billion plan for universal health care (9-28-99)

Gore receives endorsements of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Cosby (9-28-99)



How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.


McCain officially announces Presidential candidacy (9-28-99) video Windows Media: 28K | 80K



The art of being Bradley

How Gore's campaign went off the rails

On the wrong track

Bob Lang: On the wrong track (9-28-99) more

Mike Luckovich: "There's a whine in the air" (9-22-99) more


Democratic Presidential Primary

GOP Presidential Primary

Third Party Candidates


Tuesday, March 9, 1999

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