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Kemp runs aground in Florida

By John DillinStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / March 3, 1988



Orlando, Fla.

Jack Kemp's campaign in Florida has hit choppy waters. Mr. Kemp, running last in the Florida polls among Republican candidates, is pouring all his energies into this Saturday's primary in South Carolina.

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But Kemp workers say the Carolina strategy is draining resources from Super Tuesday states, including Florida, and sharply reducing the New York congressman's chances in next week's races.

Curtis Dieterich, one of Kemp's assistant campaign directors in Florida, says the situation is ``very, very frustrating.'' Major opportunities for Kemp to gain support here are being missed.

Recently, for example, Mr. Dieterich telephoned Kemp's national office with $50,000 in pledges from Florida donors for the campaign. The only qualification: The money had to be used in Florida.

Dieterich says the offer was turned down flat. Kemp's national staff wanted the money for South Carolina - or they were not interested. The money was never contributed.

``I had so many people wanting to volunteer, to do everything. So many people you wouldn't believe it,'' Dieterich told the Monitor. Students on five college campuses were ready to go to work for Kemp in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Free office space and free furniture had been arranged.

``All we needed was $1,000 to get the power turned on.''

Dieterich blames the national staff for failing to do a good job of organizing.

In Florida, for example, he says there is no one in charge, with four or five people in nominal control. As a result, ``there are no decisions being made,'' he says.