California secretary of state to switch GOP allegiance and endorse McCain
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- CNN has learned that California Secretary of State Bill Jones, the state's only Republican elected to statewide office, will
switch allegiances in the GOP presidential race Wednesday and endorse Arizona
Senator John McCain.
Jones planned to make his announcement at 10:30 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) in Los Angeles, according to Republican sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
These sources said McCain's camp would trumpet the news as a major
breakthrough in California and also as evidence that leading Republican
establishment figures who rushed to support Texas Gov. George W. Bush now are having second thoughts.
McCain campaign spokesmen declined comment, although one did say the
California campaign planned a major announcement Wednesday.
One of the sources said the switch would not bring much organizationally
to the McCain California effort -- the secretary of state does not have the
political network or state government apparatus of a governor or even a
lieutenant governor. But this source, a McCain ally, said that the Jones
endorsement would be a "major psychological boost" to the McCain effort in
California, and could perhaps lead to other switchers.
But a major Bush ally in the state who was aware of Jones' plans said the
entire GOP congressional delegation and the overwhelming majority of
Republicans in the state legislature had endorsed Bush, and that there was no
signs of any crumbling of support.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2000