Four weeks after he left the Republican Party, U.S. Sen. Bob Smith found a new home Tuesday with the U.S. Taxpayers Party, and urged fellow conservatives to join him.
Smith quit the GOP on July 13, saying it had abandoned its conservative platform on such key issues as abortion and gun control. Instead, the senator from New Hampshire plans to run for president as the candidate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party.
"If conservatives believe in the right to life, the 2nd Amendment, a strong constitutional government going to our constitutional rights, I believe I'm your person," he said in a telephone news conference Tuesday morning. "Come home, conservatives, and Bob Smith will be the next president of the United States."
Party Chairman William Shearer said he expected Smith to win the party's nomination at its convention next month. Smith also wants the party to change its name to the Conservative Party.
"I think there isn't any question he will get the nomination overwhelmingly," Shearer said.
Smith, who consistently drew little support in early Republican presidential polls, even in his home state, said he hoped to unite other disaffected conservatives in his independent run for the presidency. He predicted he will attract voters from diverse groups, such as veterans, anti-abortion Catholic Democrats and workers who have lost their jobs because of overseas trade agreements.
Smith had reportedly considered seeking the Reform Party nomination, but he said his philosophy more closely matches the Taxpayers Party. The party's platform calls for repealing the federal income tax, abolishing welfare and appointing judges who "acknowledge the legal personhood of the unborn child." It also says education cannot be separated from religious faith.