The Nation

Only 50 Southern Democratic leaders--half of those invited--showed up in Atlanta for a meeting with the party's new national chairman, Paul G. Kirk Jr. Those who attended told Kirk that the party is perceived as being the captive of special interests, some of which were instrumental in his election. Kirk, 47, an aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) for eight years, was elected chairman two weeks ago. Southern committee members supported former North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford in the voting by a margin of 2 to 1.

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