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.