Ralph Nader

A presidential candidate is coming to Utah next week — consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who's making a fourth try at the White House, this time as an independent.

Nader is scheduled to speak at the University of Utah on the evening of July 31. The next day, he is expected to file in person with the state elections office to place his name on Utah's November general election ballot.

"Ralph Nader is getting a lot of response," said Linda Parsons, the Utah state coordinator for his campaign. She said supporters gathered well over the 1,000 signatures needed to get him on the ballot as a candidate unaffiliated with a recognized political party.

In 2004, he came in a distant third in Utah behind Republican George Bush and Democrat John Kerry, with just over 1 percent of the vote. "That's not a small number," Parsons said. "I think that really shows how well people know who Ralph Nader is and the integrity he has."

Although Nader has been criticized for taking votes away from Democratic candidates in past elections, especially Al Gore in his extremely close race in 2000, Parsons said that view is "very undemocratic. We're supposed to have a choice."

Even in a Republican-dominated state like Utah, she said, Nader has plenty to offer. "It's a red state, but conservative people are taking a look at what's happening with the economy right now," Parsons said. "No doubt, the Iraq war is big. So is health care."

Nader, she said, is the only candidate calling for a single-payer health-care system similar to Canada's. He also backs a "rapid and comprehensive military and corporate withdrawal from Iraq," and a crackdown on "corporate welfare and crime," according to campaign e-mails.

He announced his candidacy in late February, saying the mainstream candidates were too closely tied to corporate interests. Nader has run as a third-party candidate for president in 1996, 2000 and 2004, never winning more than 2.7 percent of the vote.

His U. speech is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. July 31 in Libby Gardner Concert Hall on Presidents Circle. The suggested contribution is $10 or $5 for students, but Parsons said no one will be turned away.


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