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SALEM--The Oregon GOP on Saturday became the third state Republican party to endorse Ambassador Alan Keyes for George W. Bush's running mate. By a 56-44 vote, the party's central committee passed a resolution supporting a Bush/Keyes ticket, saying that Keyes would make the Republicans "virtually unbeatable" in the November presidential election.

Other state Republican parties that have endorsed Keyes are Idaho's and Utah's.

The Oregon resolution called Keyes "the most formidable defender of the principles of the Republican Party," describing him as a constitutional authority, foreign relations expert, and eloquent communicator who generates "passionate support wherever he speaks and [inspires] people at the grassroots to work tirelessly for the Republican cause."

State Republican Central Committee member Gayna Flake said of the resolution, "The people who voted for it wanted to send a message to Bush to seriously consider Keyes for VP. They believe Keyes would benefit the ticket."

Oregon's National Republican Committeewoman, June Hartley, was instrumental in getting the resolution approved. Her last-minute support clinched the resolution's passage.

State Republican Party Treasurer Dennis Richardson introduced the resolution and read it into the record. Kevin Mannix, Republican candidate for Oregon Attorney General, persuaded the convention to suspend the rules and allow the resolution to be voted upon.

Stefani Stone, National Coordinator for Keyes for Vice-President, a grassroots organization of Keyes supporters, said the endorsement is significant because it means Keyes is not just the favorite of Oregon Republicans, but the overwhelming favorite. "If Keyes were the favorite with 40%, let's say, in a field of twenty names, he would not have received an official endorsement. That requires a majority. He got that and more. That's quite a show of support."

The organization's Oregon coordinator, Charles Nichols, who submitted the resolution, said "Alan Keyes is the next Ronald Reagan. I and the million other voters who supported Alan Keyes for President are going to closely watch the [national Republican] convention. It will be like watching Ronald Reagan when he gave his first speech in 1964"--if the convention picks Keyes for Veep.

Nichols added, "Oregon has gradually been moving into the 21st century and today took a giant step toward what may very well be a new era of conservatism. I don't think Al Gore and the Democrats will be able to take Oregon for granted this time."

Keyes for Vice-President maintains a website at CONTACT: Stephen Stone, (801) 377-4728, 362-4927