CNN/TIME AllPolitics Vote '96

Perot Finishes A Distant Third


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Nov. 6) -- Reform Party founder and nominee Ross Perot has failed in his second bid for the White House, finishing a distant third behind President Bill Clinton and runner-up Bob Dole. Perot captured a mere 9 percent of the vote.

Perot gave a brief concession speech, telling his supporters they had accomplished "an incredible mission."

"You've created a party in all 50 states in less than a year. Everybody said it couldn't be done, and you did it," Perot said.

Perot continued to push his campaign themes. "We must set the highest ethical and moral standards for the people who serve in our government," he said. "And all of that has got to be changed from rules to laws in the next four years, and we're going to have to stand at the gate and keep the pressure on, and we will."


The Texas billionaire ran as an independent in 1992, financing his own campaign against Clinton and former president George Bush and garnering 19 percent of the vote. This year, Perot accepted $29.2 million in federal matching funds, most of which was spent on 30-second television spots and longer "infomercials."

After languishing in single digits in the polls for most of this year's campaign, Perot enjoyed a temporary 11th hour boost, after Dole asked Perot to drop out of the race and endorse him. Also, Perot's pet issue of campaign finance reform became hotter with voters in the final weeks of the campaign. Analysts had guessed that a good percentage of the undecided vote might fall to Perot, but that windfall never materialized.

Even so, a showing of more than 5 percent by Perot guarantees his fledgling Reform Party ballot access in many states. And while he may be down now, Perot refused to rule out a race in 2000.

"Take a little break," Perot told his troops tonight, "and then we'll climb back in the ring and keep the pressure on to see that everybody keeps those promises, right?"



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