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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

State Chapter Founder Quits Reform Party

September 01, 2000

NEWBURY PARK — The founder of the state's Reform Party chapter and leader of its presidential nominations committee resigned from the party Thursday, saying it cannot get candidates elected.

Michael Farris of Newbury Park said he had been thinking for some time of quitting the party, founded by Ross Perot in 1992.

"I had a responsibility to finish the process, and I did that," Farris said of his tenure as chairman of the nominations committee. "I was ready to go before the Long Beach convention. I don't think the Reform Party can ever get its candidates elected."

Farris, a 31-year-old space scientist, is a Thousand Oaks planning commissioner and once ran unsuccessfully for an Assembly seat against Republican Tony Strickland. He is also director of business development at Elanix Corp. in Westlake Village.

Farris had been charged with ensuring the presidential nominating process would be fair at this year's convention. But nothing went as planned, he said.

The raucous convention split into two separate events, each nominating its own candidate for president. One group nominated physicist John Hagelin, the other conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. Farris refused to vote for either man.

Farris founded the California Reform Party in 1995 and was its chairman for two years.

"During that time I thought about the Reform Party every 15 minutes," he said. "It was mentally draining."

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