WASHINGTON — Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, the conservative former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Sunday she will not seek the Republican nomination for President in 1988.
In a statement, released by her spokesman David Carmen, Kirkpatrick said: "I've carefully considered this issue, and firmly decided for personal and political reasons, not to seek the Republican nomination. Naturally, I'm grateful for the confidence of those who urged me to become a candidate."
The Manchester Union Leader, the leading voice of New Hampshire conservatism, started the movement to draft her in September with a series of front-page editorials promoting Kirkpatrick. Her cause was soon taken up by former Republican Gov. Meldrim Thompson and Gerald Carmen, a former chairman of the state's Republican Party.
An Informal Committee
Thompson, the elder statesman of the party's conservative wing, said an informal committee of 30 people was formed to work for Kirkpatrick in the event she did decide to run.
Carmen said Kirkpatrick made the decision after discussing a possible bid with family, friends and advisers at her home in Bethesda, Md.
"It was a three-day vigil that started Thursday night with people from all over the country calling her and urging her to run and people sending telegrams and messages," he said.
Kirkpatrick based her decision on a "multitude of reasons, personal and political," Carmen said. "I think the lateness of the date precluded a practical run at this point."
Carmen said financial concerns were not a factor in the decision, since the campaign believed it could raise about $3 million immediately--enough, he said, "to make a credible national bid."
But Carmen said that Kirkpatrick decided that she did not want "to hurt any candidates in the race."
Might Have Hurt Kemp
It was assumed widely that her candidacy would be a blow to the hopes of Rep. Jack Kemp of New York, who is trying to unite conservatives behind his bid.
"Jeane Kirkpatrick has been a dominant force in American foreign policy," Kemp said in a statement issued by his spokesman John Rand. "She will continue to be a dominant force despite her decision not to run for President. I will continue to count on her guidance and advice on foreign and defense policy."
Rand had no comment on the effect Kirkpatrick's decision not to enter the race would have on his candidate's presidential hopes.
Carmen said Kirkpatrick would consider a vice presidential spot.
"I don't think she would close the door on the vice presidency or any other way that might be presented to her to serve her country, She's anxious to do that," he said.
Decision Expected Monday
Kirkpatrick had been expected to make an announcement of her decision on the presidential race on Monday. But Carmen said Sunday that a news conference would only have been held if she decided to run. Since she ruled against a bid, she chose to issue a written statement.
The 60-year-old academic served just over four years as ambassador and earned a reputation as a hard-line, anti-communist whose strong views put her in conflict with her Reagan Administration colleagues as often as with fellow U.N. diplomats.