Hawkins Says Anti-War Stance Propels Him to Highest Vote

Calls for Lawsuit to Win Green Party a Ballot Line
Laments Lack of Discussion of Real Issues in Senate Race November

November 7th, 2006

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for US Senate, said today that his anti-war “troops home now” position helped propel him to the highest vote total for a Green Party candidate for US Senator since the Greens began fielding candidates for the position in 1998.

The initial canvass of votes reported Tuesday night had Hawkins at over 50,000 votes, despite the lowest statewide voter turnout in modern history. The previous Green votes for US Senate were 14,785 for Joel Kovel in 1998, 40,991 for Mark Dunau in 2000, and 36,942 for David McReynolds in 2004.

The Green candidate for Attorney General, Rachel Treichler, received well over 50,000, while the Green candidate for Comptroller, Julia Willebrand, received well over 100,000 votes. However, the top of the Green ticket, Malachy McCourt for Governor and Alison Duncan for Lieutenant Governor, were reported be the low 40,000s. It takes 50,000 votes for a party’s gubernatorial ticket to establishes a party’s right to a ballot line for the next four years, according to the New York Election Law.

Hawkins said that Tuesday nights Greens around the state were already talking about filing a lawsuit to win a ballot line based on the fact that three of its statewide candidates passed the 50,000 vote threshold. A lawsuit by the Green Party of Alaska won that party a ballot line in similar circumstances earlier this year. Four years ago, the Green Party of New York won a lawsuit that established the right of members of non-ballot qualified parties that qualified gubernatorial candidates by petition to enroll in those parties for the next four years with boards of elections.

“The Democratic victories on Tuesday were a vote of no confidence in the Bush administration and opposition to the war in Iraq, not a vote for the Democratic alternative, because they didn’t present one. Americans want change in Albany and in Washington. It is time for the victors to pay attention to the American people and bring our troops home. Too often politicians and parties turn a deaf ear to the voters once Election Day is over. We need Clinton, the Democrats, and other victors in this election to remember that the voters want good, secure jobs and quality health care for all Americans, not more tax cuts and corporate welfare for their rich contributors,” stated Hawkins in conceding the race for US Senator to Hillary Clinton.

Hawkins lamented that “the Greens did offer an alternative program but received only token media coverage. The majority of New Yorkers agree with Greens on most issues, from opposing the war in Iraq, supporting single-payer health insurance for all, and supporting massive public investment in renewable energy instead of wars for oil. But these life and death issues were ignored during this campaign. Instead, the media buzz in my race for the US Senate seat was about whether or not Spencer said Clinton had plastic surgery and about her looming presidential run,” observed Hawkins.

“Corporations, especially in the oil, military, finance, and insurance industries, are continuing to centralize their power in America. Elections are now primarily about whether candidates can pony up enough money to get into the game, either by selling their souls to corporate contributors or because of their own wealth. The media is concentrating into fewer and fewer corporate giants, who cover elections as horse races and beauty contests and neglect serious candidates from upstart parties who raise real issues and policy alternatives,” noted Hawkins.

“Many voters told me they were disgusted with all the negative advertising,” Hawkins said. “We saw little more than celebrity endorsements and mudslinging from the major party candidates. A significant part of the problem is that the Democrats and Republicans largely agree about corporate power, economic inequality, regressive taxes, aggressive militarism, and diminished civil liberties. They don’t have real issues to debate. They won’t take positions that might alienate their corporate funders.”

“Voters across America said today that they wanted change. But real change is not on the Democratic agenda. Even Bush has adopted Clinton’s ‘change course in Iraq’ slogan. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean calls for a ‘new strategy in Iraq.’ The operative words are ‘in Iraq.’ Likely House leader Nancy Pelosi has assured voters that impeachment is off the table. Just as Clinton did in 1993, health care reform will primarily end up channeling more money and power to the insurance companies. It’s all about money and power, not about building peace, protecting the environment, and meeting the needs of middle class, working class, and poor people,” added Hawkins.

An Election Day Ballot Trap

Opinion:  New York Times 
November 5, 2006


By now, most New Yorkers have already figured out how they will vote in the race for governor. Here is one last-minute plea. If you want Eliot Spitzer, vote for him on the Democratic line. If John Faso is your choice, remember that he’s a Republican.

Both Mr. Spitzer and Mr. Faso have been cross-endorsed by other parties. Mr. Faso appears on the Conservative Party line, and Mr. Spitzer is also the candidate of the Independence and Working Families Parties. This is part of a strange shell game that is unique to New York politics. Rather than field their own candidates, third parties can simply latch onto somebody else’s nominee.

Any party whose candidate for governor gets 50,000 votes automatically qualifies to run candidates in every single race for the next four years. That’s a perfectly reasonable law — but in New York there is no requirement that the candidate in question must actually belong to the party in question. The same nominee can appear on the ballot two, three, four or more times.

The best way to understand the system is to follow the fortunes of the now-defunct Liberal Party. For decades, the Liberals almost invariably followed the same formula for success. 1) Cross-endorse the Democratic candidate for governor, thus earning at least 50,000 spillover votes from New Yorkers who liked to think of themselves as very liberal indeed. 2) Spend the next four years cross-endorsing other candidates for everything from United States senator to City Council member. 3) Collect payments from grateful officeholders in the form of patronage jobs and campaign contributions.

In its earliest incarnation, the Liberal Party actually did care about issues and expected the candidates it cross-endorsed to support the principles for which it stood. But as time went on, its leaders showed less and less concern for anything but the big payoff at the end of the election cycle.

The game began to collapse after 1993, when Raymond Harding, the party’s longtime chief, delivered its mayoral endorsement to Rudolph Giuliani, who wanted to give New York City Democrats a place to vote for him other than the hated Republican line. For that support, Mr. Harding got not one but two sons appointed to high positions in the Giuliani administration. One of them, who became president of the Housing Development Corporation on the basis of no qualifications whatsoever, wound up being sent to prison for embezzling more than $400,000 and for possession of child pornography.

The parties plowing the same field now claim that unlike the Liberals, they stand for something. The Working Families Party, which has had a great deal of success in recent years, says it exists to pressure Democrats (and an occasional rogue Republican) into supporting progressive principles. But there are lots of ways to push for change in Albany or in local government that are not such blatant invitations to abuse. The cross-endorsement system is basically a permission slip to sell lines on the New York ballot to the highest bidders.

At its best, the system rewards parties with little or no accountability outside of a small group of organizers with a disproportionate amount of power. Their key to electoral success does not lie in developing candidates who can appeal to the voters. It lies in picking a really good name. (Who could be against independence? Or working families?) After that, all that is necessary is to cross-endorse Republicans or Democrats who are hungry for extra positions on the ballot — or afraid that the third-party line could be handed over to a genuine candidate who might siphon away needed votes.

If you want to vote for a real third-party candidate, the ballot is going to be full of them. The Libertarian, Green and Socialist Workers Parties all have their own nominees for governor. Qualifying through petition signatures is easy enough that even the Rent Is Too High party made the cut. But if you want to vote for Eliot Spitzer or John Faso, stick to the parties they really belong to.

Hawkins Cries Foul

Albany Times Union
November 5, 2006 at 6:54 pm by Elizabeth Benjamin


Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Howie Hawkins is calling on the Working Families Party to retract this “last-minute” mailer, which he feels is disingenuous because it wrongly implies “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan is supporting the entire WFP ticket.

In fact, Sheehan recently endorsed Hawkins and another Green Party candidate, gubernatorial hopeful Malachy McCourt.

Adding insult to injury in Hawkins’ eyes is the fact that the WFP slate is identical to the Democratic slate, and this includes his opponent, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY. Many on the left do not feel Clinton is sufficiently anti-war when it comes to Iraq, despite her criticism of the Bush administration, since she voted for the war and never apologized outright for that vote or supported an immediate withdrawal of the troops.

The Hawkins campaign e-mailed out a statement from her today in which Sheehan reiterated her support of the Green Party candidates and criticized Clinton.

“I support a lot of the work of the Working Families Party and especially Mr. Pete Seeger who has been an amazing warrior for peace. However, I cannot support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton who is ensconced in the all-Democratic slate. She is not pro-peace, or even anti-war and has been a rubber stamp for George Bush’s war of terror.

“Many of the candidates that the WFP supports are worthy of support, but certainly not Senator Clinton.”

“I support Howie Hawkins in his campaign against Hillary Clinton, and I support Malachy McCourt in his campaign for governor.”

– “Peace, Cindy Sheehan.”

The WFP mailer doesn’t mention Clinton at all – or Democratic state Comptroller Alan Hevesi. It does, however, prominently display the names of Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner/AG Eliot Spitzer and his LG running mate, Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, D-Harlem, as they will appear on Row E.

WFP spokesman Alex Navarro said all three of the anti-war activists pictured in the mailer had authorized their quotes for use in the WFP’s direct mail “Bring ‘Em Home” campaign (named for a Pete Seeger song), in which the party is urging votes on Row E to send an anti-war message.

“Cindy Sheehan is a courageous American, who along with Michael Moore and Pete Seeger, has been an important force in changing public opinion about the war in Iraq,” Navarro said. “The Working Families Party is grateful for the support they’ve given to the party’s ‘Bring ‘em Home’ campaign and for the quotations they authorized for our direct mail.”

“We hope New Yorkers who reject the Nader-ite spoiler approach to electoral politics that elected George W. Bush president will vote Working Families on Tuesday to send a message about the war.”

Meanwhile, Hawkins announced he’ll be running a TV ad during cable news broadcasts Monday (including “The Daily Show”) in which he pronounces himself “the candidate who wants to get out of Iraq” and decries the fact that he was excluded from the two debates between Clinton and her GOP challenger, former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer.

The Greens: Hawkins runs against the war

by Sean Kirst
Syracuse Post-Standard
Sunday, November 05, 2006

I caught up with Howie Hawkins Sunday for a much-needed blast of last-second
fresh air. As always, Hawkins – from the day he began passing its petitions
to the eve of the election itself – has run his longshot campaign with a
kind of relentless, optimistic faith.

He had yet to actrually shake hands with John Spencer, the Republican
candidate for Senate, who would disagree with Hawkins on just about
everything – but would undoubtedly argue with him until they both wore out.

Yet Hawkins told me he had one chance encounter during this campaign with
incumbent Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hawkins is running against Clinton
and Spencer, for the Senate seat – but he was not allowed to participate in
either one of their debates.

Hawkins took offense to that for a multitude of reasons, most powerfully
because he describes himself as a clear anti-war alternative to Clinton (who
voted in favor of sending troops into Iraq) and Spencer (a passionate
supporter of the Bush doctrine in Iraq). But Hawkins never got close to
Clinton until he showed up at an energy conference she attended in Rochester.

They happened to be going out a side door at the same time, and Hawkins
quickly stepped forward, stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Howie Hawkins,
the Green Party candidate for senator.”

A flustered Clinton responded: “That’s OK,” and then kept going.

That’s OK? The story brings a soft laugh from Hawkins. He is still working
nights loading boxes for United Parcel Service. He drives rental cars
because his beloved GeoMetro got totaled on Route 17 when he hit a deer
while driving between campaign events. He has used up every last day of
vacation time, sick time and personal time to focus on this race.

He is “a true American,” in the words of the noted writer – and Green Party
gubernatorial candidate – Malachy McCourt. That echoes the praise of Ralph
Nader, the two-time Green Party candidate for president, who has called
Hawkins, a Marine Corps veteran, “the most unwavering progressive” in New

For Hawkins, the dream in this election is simply a strong showing. He’d
like to see McCourt top 50,000 votes, guaranteeing the Greens their slot in
the ballot. And he’s curious about how many New Yorkers, weary of Clinton’s
cautious dance around Iraq, will decide to cast their votes his way as a

“The Greens are a real option, at least to send a message,” Hawkins said.

His campaign has focused on three issues: A quick withdrawal of American
troops from Iraq; a new emphasis on national health insurance; and what
Hawkins describes “as the moral equivalent of war,” taking half of the
American military budget and using it to build a green “energy
infrastructure around the world.”

“I’m more for (spending money) on world peace and national security than for
spending the money on arms and military activites in oil-rich regions,”
Hawkins said. “That’s how you make enemies. Spread technology, spread
goodwill and you make friends.”

While he hopes people will consider voting Green, Hawkins’ practical goal is
winning a seat next year on the Syracuse Common Council. And he hopes his
almost annual quest for office as a Green, either local or statewide, has
convinced enough city voters of his sincerity and knowledge.

For the rest of us, he remains a campaign antidote to the nasty innuendoes
and garbage we’ve been seeing on TV. Hawkins never gets personal and never
throws around insults, but he said he’s taken energy from he sees as a
simple truth:

“It’s the war,” Hawkins said. “People are sick of what’s going on in Iraq.”

Hawkins Urges Voters to Focus on the Issues of War, Health Care, and Global Warming

Hawkins for US Senate

News Release

For immediate release: November 6, 2006
For more information:
Howie Hawkins, (315) 425-1019, howie@hawkinsforsenate.net

<i>Whether or Not Spencer said Clinton had Plastic Surgery is a Distraction, Hawkins says

Hawkins TV Ads To Air Monday</i>

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for US Senator, today urged voters to focus on the policy differences between him and Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John Spencer. He urged voters not to be distracted by the question of whether or not John Spencer said Clinton had plastic surgery, which has been the main focus of media coverage of the Senate race in the closing days of the campaign.

“There are real life and death issues in this campaign like the war, 47 million Americans without health insurance, and global warming. Plastic surgery is not one of those issues,” Hawkins said.

“I stand with the majority of New Yorkers who want the troops home from Iraq, a single-payer health insurance plan for all Americans, and major public investment in renewable energy to stop global warming rather than in wars for oil. Clinton and Spencer oppose us on those policies. I’m asking New Yorkers to vote for me as a vote to stop the war, provide health care for all, and stop global warming,” Hawkins added.

Hawkins also noted that opinion polling shows that he voices the views of the majority of New Yorkers while Clinton and Spencer take the opposite view on many other issues, including abolition of the death penalty and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Hawkins’ will air 67 thirty-second TV ads throughout New York State on Monday on cable news broadcasts and some other news-oriented programs, including MSNBC’s Hardball and Countdown, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Lou Dobbs, and Paula Zahn, and the Comedy Channel’s Daily Show and Colbert Report.

In the TV spot, Hawkins says, “I approve this message, but I don’t approve of the fact that I was excluded from the Senate debates.” He goes on to say he is “the candidate who wants to get out of Iraq and back into our communities” to focus on jobs, housing, health care, schools, and clean energy. He concludes by saying, “I’m a Teamster, a former Marine, not a household name. But I’m your chance to send them a message.”

Hawkins also called upon the Working Familes Party to issue a retraction of their last minute mailer that implies Cindy Sheehan supports the whole Working Families ticket. Saturday night Sheehan issued a statement slamming the pro-war stance of Senator Hillary Clinton, who is listed on the Working Families ballot line, and reaffirming her endorsements made last month for Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins for US Senator and Malachy McCourt for Governor.

Cindy Sheehan Reiterates Her Endorsements of Howie Hawkins and Malachy McCourt

Hawkins for US Senate


News Release

For immediate release: November 4, 2006
For more information:
Howie Hawkins, (315) 425-1019, howie@hawkinsforsenate.net

A mailer from the Working Families Party that arrived in many voters’ mailboxes on Friday and Saturday depicts Cindy Sheehan, along with Pete Seeger and Michael Moore, urging voters to support bringing the troops home by voting for Democrats running on the Working Families Party line.

Last month, Cindy Sheehan had endorsed the Green Party candidates Howie Hawkins for US Senator and Malachy McCourt for Governor.

The Working Families Party endorsed all the Democrats running for statewide office. These Democratic candidates also appear on the Working Families Party line on Row E. The Green Party’s candidates appear on the next line, Row F.

Early Saturday evening Cindy Sheehan issued the following clarification of her position:

“I support a lot of the work of the Working Families Party and especially Mr. Pete Seeger who has been an amazing warrior for peace. However, I cannot support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton who is ensconced in the all-Democratic slate. She is not pro-peace, or even anti-war and has been a rubber stamp for George Bush’s war of terror. Many of the candidates that the WFP supports are worthy of support, but certainly not Senator Clinton.

“I support Howie Hawkins in his campaign against Hillary Clinton and I support Malachy McCourt in his campaign for governor.

“Peace, Cindy Sheehan.”

Stand and Deliver, But no Gum

October 10th, 2006
Clyde Haberman, NY Times

We are going out on a limb to bet, without the handicap of deep research, that only one person running for New York governor has been asked to write the foreward to a new edition of James Joyce’s “Dubliners”. That would be Malachy McCourt, candidate of the Green Party, the color having to do with the environment and not Mr. McCourt’s roots in Ireland.

His 3000 word esay for Penguin Books is due in a few days, a deadline more imminent and arguably more deserving of his attention than Election Day. Any fool can run for high office, and often does. But how many grade school dropouts are asked to explicate the work of a literary titan?

Not that he is ignoring the governor’s race. “I am standing for office,” he says, using a construction more suited to Irish or English ears. Why politicians on the other side of the Atlantic stand for office while those here choose to run is a mystery. Maybe our guys need a head start.

In any event, when Mr. McCourt first talked months ago about standing for governor, a perceptive Irish journalist wrote that “he faces stiff opposition from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.”

How right he was. Mr. Spitzer, the Democratic candidate, is giving Mr. McCourt one heck of a run, or stand, for his money.
Indeed – here we are out on a limb again – Mr. McCourt is in absolutely no danger of winning. Neither, if polls are to be believed, is the Republican, John Faso.

Mr. Faso, however, will at least get to debate Mr. Spitzer on Thursday night. On that stage, you will not find Mr. McCourt or other candidates whose names may mystify you as much as some of Joyce’s prose: John Clifton of the Libertarian Party, Maurice DeLuca of the Socialist Workers Party and Jimmy McMillan of the bluntly named Rent Is Too Damn High Party. Also, high are the odds that Mr. Faso and Mr. Spitzer will use the debate toi promise this or that and to rough each other up. But if either of them says something memorable, or even witty, we might well think about declaring a state holiday.

Why does our politics seem so irredeemably grim? “The inculcation of fear is the essence of American politics,” Mr. McCourt said. “Fear and the evil of your opponents – what awful, dreadful, less-than-human beings they are, until elected. Then they say, ‘We have to get behind them.'”

He recalled a quotation from Thomas Corwin, a 19th century senator from Ohio: “Never make people laugh. If you would succeed in life, you must be solemn, solemn as an ass. All great monuments are built over solemn asses.”

You may know Mr. McCourt as a radio personality, actor and best-selling author. He has also been a longshoreman and a saloonkeeper. He was born poor, to an Irish family whose ranks include a brother with a couple of books of his own to his credit. At 75, Malachy McCourt has decided that “every day above ground is a good one,” and the goal is to “stay on the right side of the grass.”

We could dutifully list his campaign themes, which include opposition to capital punishment, the war in Iraq and tuition charges at public colleges.

But it is unlikely that New York will soon drop “Empire State” as its nickname, turn the National Guard into a civilian environmental corps, declare sugar a controlled substance or tax tobacco so much that a cigarette costs the same as a gallon of gas.

“Chewing gum is my latest one,” Mr. McCourt said. “I’m going to triple the tax on it. Chewing gum makes people look stupid, and they spit it out. It does terrible things to the sidewalk and the subway.”

That it does. But since he will no more be elected governor than named the next Yankee manager, the conversation in his Upper West Side apartment turned less on platforms than on the nature of politics.

He is not running as a joke, he said. War, poor health care, marginal literacy among many young people – “is it a joke?” he asked of each of these troubles. But there is a difference, he said, between taking what one does seriously and taking oneself seriously. That is a distinction lost on many politicians. He had another line to reinforce the point, from the English writer G.K. Chesterton: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”  Besides, Mr. McCourt said, his qualifications in this race are the same as anyone else’s. “None of us,” he said, “have ever been governor.”
And only one is writing a foreward to James Joyce. He is getting 50 cents a word from the publisher, he said. It isn’t much. On the other hand, many people would not put down even 50 cents for the word of a politician.