W.Va. farmer launches third presidential bid

February 05, 2000|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - For the third time since 1988, a Jefferson County man is making a run for United States president.

Although Angus McDonald said this will probably be his last campaign for the office, it's not because he has become disillusioned by the process.

He runs because he loves politics, even though he has never held any elected office.

"I guess its like what Nixon said: 'It gets in your blood,' '' said the 72-year-old farmer.

Although McDonald concedes it would be a miracle if he were elected, he feels compelled to try.

"It's enjoyable to hear him talk about running," said Michael Cassell, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee.

Although big-money campaigns operated by well-known candidates are what drives the presidential race, there are always minor presidential candidates from across the country.

"It's their right under the American system. It gives them their 20 minutes of fame," said West Virginia Secretary of State Ken Hechler.


The Democratic candidate from Jefferson County has paid $4,000 for his name to be included along with contenders as Bill Bradley, Al Gore and Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. in the West Virginia primary May 9.

McDonald, who was a candidate for president in 1988 and 1992, has the same campaign slogan: "Sensible Government with Fiscal Responsibility."

McDonald voiced concern about the nation's staggering debt - which has since been significantly reduced - in his first two campaigns.

McDonald credits President Clinton and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan for their work to reduce the debt.

McDonald said a president should work with Congress "to do what is right for the people," and that the federal budget should be balanced unless there is a national emergency that requires more spending.

Better efforts are needed to extend medical care to people, and Social Security and Medicare funds should be kept for those purposes, McDonald said.

McDonald received 3,600 votes in the West Virginia primary when he ran in 1988. He had a stronger showing in 1996, when he received 9,600 votes.

McDonald said a TV newscaster in Washington once described him as the first person to launch a presidential campaign through a classified newspaper ad. He usually advertises his campaign through the classified ads in USA Today, and placed one in the Jan. 24 edition of the paper.

"I, Angus W. McDonald, am a Democratic candidate for President of the U.S. I stand for sensible government with fiscal responsibility," the ad stated.

McDonald ran only in the West Virginia primary in 1988. In 1992, besides his state race, McDonald ran in the South Carolina primary, where he picked up 140 votes, and the California primary, where he got 66 write-in votes.

McDonald said that during his South Carolina campaign, he spoke to a nursing association meeting in Charleston and at the Strom Thurmond Political Institute at Clemson University. He went to California that year, too, receiving a write-up in the Los Angeles Times and an appearance on Montel Williams' television talk show.

McDonald has made few campaign appearances so far this year. He hopes to receive more invitations to speak from party leaders in the state in the spring. He also plans to run a larger ad in USA Today later this month.

Otherwise, McDonald will depend on word-of-mouth to get his message across.

"I guess I'm not a good campaigner. I'm a private person," he said.

McDonald lives on the farm where he grew up. The 150-acre Pleasant View Farm, located along Flowing Springs Road just north of Charles Town, is where McDonald and his parents grew apples and peaches.

Although he still supervises the farm, he enjoys traveling. Last year, McDonald took a cruise to Alaska, a Mississippi River cruise, and flew to England on a Concorde jet. He sailed back home on the Queen Elizabeth II.

"Wall Street has been good to me," he said.

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