ST. PAUL -- Backers of pundit Pat Buchanan's presidential candidacy are planning to resurrect the state Reform Party in the wake of its abandonment by third-party activists in Minnesota.
A founding convention is scheduled for April 7 in Minneapolis, and Buchanan will be there to drum up support for his populist message, said Cedric Scofield, the Midwestern regional representative for the national party.
''This is about getting people interested and excited about getting involved,'' Scofield said Monday.
Earlier this month, the Minnesota Reform Party broke from the national party over concern about unrest in the party and growing support for Buchanan's conservative views. The party renamed itself the Independence Party.
That decision came shortly after Gov. Jesse Ventura left the Reform Party.
Scofield said the main purposes of the founding convention will be writing a party charter and electing delegates to the national convention. While Buchanan is seeking the Reform Party nomination, no presidential candidate will be endorsed, he said.
The renewed party ''will in step with the national party,'' Scofield said, adding that Independence Party members and Ventura would be welcome to join.
''They are the ones who went away and disassociated,'' he said.
Ventura's spokesman, John Wodele, said the governor would not comment.
Minnesota's Reform Party has long had a tenuous relationship with the national organization. Initially called the Independence Party, it grew out of, but was not directly connected to, Ross Perot's 1992 third-party presidential campaign. The state party changed its name to the Reform Party of Minnesota in 1996.
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