- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2000

''Fuzzy," "deceptive" is what Jesse Jackson yesterday called the now famous Palm Beach County, Fl., ballots, designed though they were by a Democrat like himself. Over 3,000 people in Palm Beach pulled the lever for Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan on election day, and the argument has been widely made by the Democratic side that no way that number could possibly have chosen to vote for Mr. Buchanan of their own free will.

The fact is, however, that this number is not at all unrealistic. In the 1996 Republican primary, Mr. Buchanan pulled a total vote in Palm Beach County of 7,788. The county comprises parts of four congressional districts: the 16th, the 19th, the 22nd and the 23rd. Interestingly, it was in the 19th, home of Democratic Rep. Bob Wexler, who is now screaming bloody murder, that Mr. Buchanan received the most support with 2,961.

All of this happened in 1996 after Mr. Buchanan had clearly no chance of winning the nomination. He had won New Hampshire, but lost Arizona and South Carolina. He was still barnstorming in places like Texas, hoping to influence the GOP platform, but had spent almost no resources in Florida. Still, he received 18 percent of the statewide primary vote. That Palm Beach County should still be the home of 3,704 dedicated Pitchfork Pat supporters ought not be a surprise at all.

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