Forbes' Turn at the Top

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: It was Steve Forbes' turn to take the mantle of the 'not Buchanan' candidate. In a tight Arizona primary race, Forbes came out the surprise winner, beating out Bob Dole and Pat Buchanan. Even before the final results, which showed Forbes with 33 percent, Dole with 30 and Buchanan with 27, the Dole and Buchanan campaigns sent their spin machines into high gear. "Clearly our momentum is not enough to overcome $40 a vote," Buchanan said, noting that Forbes spent $4 million to win some 111,000 votes in Arizona. But Buchanan predicted Forbes' success would be short lived. "We're going to point out Steve Forbes' record as a social liberal. I don't think Steve Forbes is going to get away with faking a pro-life position in a state like South Carolina." An exasperated Dole fumed: "What he does, when he spends all that money, it helps Buchanan and drives me down." Dole could take some solace in solid wins in North and South Dakota, but the Forbes victory once again pointed up Dole's soft support outside the midwest. The fact that he did not campaign in Arizona but instead concentrated on South Carolina and Georgia shows that the Senator believes the real battle for the nomination will take place there. Saturday's South Carolina primary kicks off a grueling ten-day stretch where delegates will be decided in eighteen states, and each candidate hopes a win there will provide momentum to carry them through. The loser may be Alexander, who Tuesday resigned himself to losses in Arizona and the Dakotas that leave him finishing once again well out of first place in a primary. "I'm a patient man," he said, and suggested he would concentrate on looking for a win in South Carolina or in another southern state such as Georgia next Tuesday.