(CNS) - Seeking to dispel rumors on the eve of the Iowa GOP straw poll, Republican presidential contender Patrick Buchanan on Thursday called "unsubstantiated and untrue" press reports that he has decided to bolt the GOP to seek the nomination of the Reform Party.
"All my campaigning in recent weeks," Buchanan said in a statement to the press, "has been directed toward winning the Republican contests of 2000."
Buchanan's statement comes on the heels of accusations in an interview with The Washington Post that unnamed rivals are attempting to disrupt his campaign on the eve of the Iowa straw poll on August 14.
Buchanan questioned the timing of a press report about his possible plans to defect. "I think it is being pumped up by people who I think do not wish us well in the straw poll," he told the paper.
Reiterating his commitment to life, "an America-first foreign policy," and "a trade policy that puts American workers and manufacturers and sovereignty first," Buchanan said if the Republican Party veered off the road, "that's their business."
"As Jack Kennedy once said, 'Sometimes party loyalty asks too much,' but right now I'm going down the road as a Republican," he said.
Pat Choate, the Reform Party's vice presidential nominee in 1996, told the paper he had been trying to persuade Buchanan to seek the Reform Party nomination.
Buchanan would be "a great candidate" for the Reform Party, Choate said.
Last month, Republican Sen. Robert C. Smith of New Hampshire quit the presidential race and the GOP party, saying the party had abandoned its conservative principles. Smith did not rule out a third party candidacy.