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Des Moines Register: McCain formalizes decision to skip Iowa caucuses

By DAVID YEPSEN/Des Moines Register

November 17, 1999
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT)

DES MOINES, Iowa (Des Moines Register) -- U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said Tuesday that he will bypass the Iowa caucuses and will skip campaigning in the state.

McCain, in a letter to Iowa GOP chairman Kayne Robinson, said he will be in the state for two debates. His aides had held open the possibility that he would stage a last-minute campaign blitz in Iowa. McCain nixed that talk Tuesday.

"My decision not to establish a campaign organization in Iowa is based solely on the compressed nature of the primary schedule and the increasing influence of big money on the nominating process," McCain said. He said he won't buy ads or hire staff in Iowa.

Many states have moved their primaries closer to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and McCain said he can afford to campaign only in some states.

"Developing the kind of grassroots organization for which the Iowa caucuses are known is a long and involved process. I'm sure you would agree that it would be almost impossible at this late date to put together the kind of operation necessary to effectively compete in the caucuses," he said.

He said he still welcomes the support of Iowans.

Ann Dougherty, the spokeswoman for the Iowa GOP, said McCain's letter is "no big surprise."

This report provided by Des Moines


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Wednesday, November 17, 1999

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