WASHINGTON — Former U.N. Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, "favorite daughter" of U.S. conservatives, has decided to seek the Republican nomination for President, friends said Friday.
Kirkpatrick, 60, was a Democrat until she left the U.N. post in 1985, frustrated at not being chosen by President Reagan to be his third secretary of state. Since then, she has written a nationally syndicated column, performed on the lecture circuit and resumed a fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute and a history professorship at Georgetown University.
Bold Views, Sharp Tongue
Her bold views and sharp tongue would be certain to enliven the Republican race. She is expected to formally announce her entry Monday at a news conference in Washington. Her candidacy would be only the second serious one by a woman in the Republican Party. In 1964, former Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine actively campaigned for President in primaries in New Hampshire, Illinois and Oregon, and became the first woman in either major party to be nominated for President at a national convention.
A close Kirkpatrick associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said:
"She's going to go for it. She will be sacrificing a lot of income and she's getting in very late, but I think she wants to prove that she can outpoll some of the lesser candidates."
With closeness to Reagan considered an important qualification for a Republican candidate, Kirkpatrick can claim first-class credentials. The President was first attracted to her views in a Commentary magazine article on the need to recognize that "authoritarian" right wing governments may be more worthy of U.S. support than Marxist totalitarian regimes.
Paper Promoted Her
The movement to draw Kirkpatrick into the campaign began in New Hampshire, and it is there, where the nation's first presidential primary takes place in February, that her candidacy could work the most mischief.
The Manchester Union Leader, the leading voice of New Hampshire conservatism, started the movement in September with a series of front-page editorials promoting Kirkpatrick. Her cause was soon taken up by former Republican Gov. Meldrim Thomson and Gerald Carmen, a former chairman of the state's Republican Party.
In New Hampshire, Kirkpatrick would draw from a conservative vote already divided among three candidates--New York Rep. Jack Kemp, former television evangelist Pat Robertson and former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV. Many observers believe Kemp would suffer the most from Kirkpatrick's candidacy. They also believe that Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, who is the most moderate of the Republican candidates, would benefit most from a further fracturing of the conservative vote.
Thomson said he is confident that Kirkpatrick could raise the $3 million to $4 million he said she would need to compete effectively in several early primary states. He said it would be important for her to do well in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Dakota and South Carolina, and he said there are people prepared to go to work for her in those states.
A Monday announcement would enable Kirkpatrick to take part in next Wednesday's debate by Republican contenders in Houston. Texas is the scene of her greatest public success, a speech at the 1984 Dallas convention that almost stole the show from Reagan. Her attack on Democratic critics of Reagan Administration foreign policy for their propensity to "blame America first" brought delegates to their feet in a thunderous ovation.
Don Shannon reported from Washington and Frank Clifford from Manchester, N.H.