SACRAMENTO – Several thousand supporters of Texas Gov. George Bush rallied Saturday at the state Capitol, demanding a halt to the recount of Florida ballots and denouncing Vice President Al Gore.
About 4,000 people, including many from throughout Northern California, converged on Capitol Park on a chilly, foggy day to chant, honk horns and tote placards.
After the two-hour demonstration, hundreds of people went to their cars and drove around the Capitol, horns blaring.
“We’re upset over the Florida recount and we came out to say so,” said Mike Smith of Paskenta, a Tehama County town about 110 miles north of Sacramento.
Smith was accompanied by his wife, Patty, and their two children, Katie, 11, and Troy, 12.
“It’s the legality of all this — they should quit dragging this out in Florida. Bush won,” Patty Smith said.
Dennis Stone, a sales manager from Dixon in Solano County west of Sacramento, complained that “there already have been three recounts and that’s enough. There’s fraud and corruption going on there.”
Bob Mulholland, the state Democratic Party’s political director, said the demonstrators were “just a Republican mob, the same Republicans that blew California.”
“Gore won California, he will win Florida and we believe he will win the presidency,” Mulholland added.
Similar demonstrations have been held at the Capitol in recent weeks, as well as across the country.
In Florida, the critical battleground in the nation’s closest presidential race in 124 years, unofficial returns showed Bush leading Gore by about 500 votes out of some six million votes cast.
Legal wrangling between the Gore and Bush camps has intensified. A U.S. Supreme Court hearing is scheduled on Friday to consider Bush’s appeal against the hand recounting of Florida ballots.
The Florida Supreme Court ruled last week that the recounts could continue, but set a 5 p.m. EST Sunday deadline.