HAZLETON, Penn. — Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has chosen April 15 to make a major announcement of his intentions, following indications he has broken with the GOP.
A life-long Republican who has increasingly cited the party's failure to match conservative rhetoric with actual performance in the political arena, Keyes said he will reveal his reasons for departing the GOP at a press conference scheduled for 8:30 pm ET, at the Best Western Genetti Inn in Hazleton, PA.
The event will be video-streamed live at Keyes' website, www.AlanKeyes.com.
Keyes added that he is looking to the Constitution Party as a possible home for his future efforts in politics, including a potential run for president in the 2008 general election.
"No other 'third party' is as well-established as the Constitution Party," said Keyes. "They've been around since 1992, and have built a significant grassroots presence among patriotic, Constitution-minded citizens — with a registered membership of over 350,000. Conservatives have a home in the CP that they can find nowhere else, given the decline in the Republican Party's credibility as a voice and vehicle for conservatism."
Regarding his potential third-party candidacy for president in the fall, Keyes said, "I believe people deserve a choice. They certainly deserve a conservative choice — something neither John McCain, Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama can offer voters. All they can offer is empty promises based on liberal track records."
Symbolic of Keyes' break with the Republican Party is a caricature of the GOP logo — upside down — on the front page of his website.
The Constitution Party will hold its nominating convention April 23-26 in Kansas City.
According to Dan Smeriglio, a Keyes supporter who is helping to arrange the event, the former Reagan administration diplomat chose to make his announcement in Hazleton because of the town's strong stance on illegal immigration.
"I understand a good portion of his speech next week will center on illegal immigration," Smeriglio said. Smeriglio and a group he represents, Voice of the People USA, have been vocal in opposing illegal immigration since Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta introduced the Illegal Immigration Relief Act in 2006 — thrusting Hazleton into national prominence in the movement to stem illegal immigration.
Keyes — who has a Ph.D. in government from Harvard and wrote his dissertation on constitutional theory — served as Reagan's Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, as well as Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, where he represented U.S. interests in the UN General Assembly.
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