Tom DeLay will vote for John McCain but the former House Republican leader said his wife, Christine, is planning to vote for Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr.
“I’m trying to convince my wife not to do that,” the Texas Republican told editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Friday. “She said it publicly yesterday.”
Mr. Barr’s candidacy is an issue conservatives appear to be grappling with since he won the Libertarian party’s nomination on the sixth ballot at their May 25 convention in Denver. Early polls suggest Mr. Barr could draw small but significant support in key states such as Georgia and North Carolina, potentially complicating the electoral picture for Mr. McCain, Republicans’ presumed presidential nominee.
Some conservative leaders are expressing their concern over Mr. Barr’s appeal to Republicans who say they don’t want to vote for Mr. McCain. They list a host of problems including his support for citizenship rights for most illegal immigrants, his support for government mandates to control greenhouse gas emissions, his efforts to limit campaign finances, his votes against both of President Bush’s tax cuts and his repeated political clashes with Republicans.
But Republican officials have said they don’t see Mr. Barr affecting the race much, and question some of the early polls.
A spokeswoman for Mr. DeLay said his wife’s comment on her support was made to some friends and supporters of the DeLays.
And while Mr. DeLay will be voting for Mr. McCain, he said he doesn’t think the party’s new leader wants his official help with the campaign.
The full interview with Mr. DeLay, in which he addresses the direction of the Republican Party, the lack of coordination and leadership in the conservative movement and Mr. McCain’s chances, will appear in Monday’s editions of The Times and on the Web site www.WashingtonTimes.com Monday morning.