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The Grassroots Party is a single-issue political party in the U.S. state of Minnesota. It was created in 1986 to oppose drug prohibition. The party shares many of the political leftist values of the Green Party of the United States but with a greater emphasis on marijuana/hemp legalization issues.
United States Bill of Rights
The permanent platform of the Grassroots Party is the Bill of Rights. Individual candidates' positions on issues vary from Libertarian to Green. All Grassroots candidates would end marijuana/hemp prohibition, thus re-legalizing cannabis for all its uses.
The Grassroots Party was established in Minnesota in 1986, by Derrick Grimmer, Tim Davis, Chris Wright and Oliver Steinberg, as an independent political party that focused on marijuana legalization. Derrick Grimmer, Ph.D., ran for Minnesota Attorney General in 1986. He received 16,394 votes.
The Grassroots Party of Minnesota (GRP) ran a full slate of state-wide candidates in 1990, 1992 and 1994, and won more votes than all other third parties in Minnesota combined.
In 1990, Ross S. Culverhouse, a computer programmer and Vietnam veteran was the Grassroots gubernatorial candidate. Culverhouse received 17,176 votes. Will Shetterly, a science-fiction writer and actor, ran for governor of Minnesota in 1994. He placed third out of six candidates.
Russell Bentley, a party candidate for US Senate in 1990 and US Congress in 1992 and GRP board member, was arrested on marijuana smuggling charges in 1996. Bentley was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
In 2000, the party nominated David Daniels, an African American playwright/performance artist from Minneapolis, as candidate for the United States Senate. Daniels did not have a serious campaign budget and was only invited to speak at some events sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. On election day, Daniels received 21,447 votes (0.89%). In 2002, Grassroots Party co-founder and candidate, Tim Davis, joined the Green Party.
In 2010, Grassroots candidate Chris Wright was on the ballot in the governor's election, signifying the possibility of the minor political party being re-organized. In 2012, Wright ran for President of the United States as a Grassroots Party candidate.
Results in federal elections
|1988||US Senator||Derrick Grimmer||9,016||0.43%|
|1988||US Representative 5||Chris Wright||6,468||2.68%|
|1990||US Senator||Russell Bentley||29,820||1.65%|
|1992||US Representative 3||Dwight Fellman||9,164||2.91%|
|1992||US Representative 4||Dan R. Vacek||4,418||1.59%|
|1992||US Representative 5||Russell Bentley||6,786||2.24%|
|1994||US Senator||Candice Sjostrom||15,920||0.90%|
|1994||US Representative 4||Dan R. Vacek||6,211||2.94%|
|1996||US Senator||Tim Davis||14,139||0.65%|
|1996||US Representative 4||Phil Willkie||3,615||1.41%|
|1996||US Representative 5||Erika Anderson||13,102||5.33%|
|2000||US Senator||David Daniels||21,447||0.89%|
|2012||US Senator||Tim Davis||30,532||1.07%|
Results in Minnesota state elections
|1986||MN Attorney General||Derrick Grimmer||16,394||1.17%|
|1990||MN Governor||Ross S. Culverhouse||17,176||0.96%|
|1990||MN Treasurer||Colleen Bonniwell||84,919||4.94%|
|1994||MN Governor||Will Shetterly||20,785||1.20%|
|1994||MN Secretary of State||Dale D. Wilkinson||54,009||3.12%|
|1994||MN Attorney General||Dean W. Amundson||69,776||4.17%|
|1994||MN Auditor||Steven C. Anderson||80,811||4.79%|
|1994||MN Treasurer||Colleen Bonniwell||84,486||5.20%|
|1996||MN Senator 62||Steven C. Anderson||2,032||6.63%|
|1998||MN Governor||Chris Wright||1,727||0.10%|
|1998||MN Representative 59A||Dale D. Wilkinson||1,270||9.66%|
|2010||MN Governor||Chris Wright||7,513||0.4%|
Derrick Grimmer, Ph.D., a founding member of the Grassroots Party, moved from Minnesota to Iowa in 1988 and formed the Grassroots Party of Iowa. Grimmer ran for Iowa State Treasurer in 1990 and received 15,745 votes and he ran for U.S. House of Representatives (IA District 3) in 1994 and received 2,282 votes.
The Grassroots Party of Vermont formed in 1994. In 1994, Vermont Grassroots Party (VGP) ran a slate of candidates for several offices, including governor, U.S Senate, U.S. Representative, auditor of accounts, and attorney general.
In 1996 VGP ran another slate of candidates including governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative, attorney general, auditor of accounts, state treasurer, and secretary of state.
Three VGP candidates won five percent or more of the popular vote in the 1996 election, qualifying the Grassroots Party for permanent "major party" status in Vermont.
In 1998 VGP ran a slate of candidates including gubernatorial candidate Joel Williams who received 3,305 votes (1.5%) and U.S. Senate candidate Bob Melamede who received 2,459 votes (1.1%). Matthew Mulligan received 3,464 votes (1.6%) for U.S. Representative; Randy Bushey got 12,312 votes (6%) for State Treasurer; Steven Saetta got 6,345 votes (3%) for Auditor of Accounts; Dennis "Denny" Lane received 8,347 votes (3.9%) for Secretary of State and Sandy "Wells" Ward got 17,954 votes (8.8%) for Attorney General.
In 2000 the Vermont Grassroots Party ran a slate of candidates with Sandy "Wells" Ward leading the ticket as candidate for Attorney General, receiving 38,713 votes, or 14.7% of the popular vote.
Again in 2002 the VGP fielded a full statewide ticket, and this time Teresa Bouchard led the way as candidate for State Treasurer with 10,757 votes (4.8%). In 2002 one of the state leaders, Joel Williams, became a member of the Libertarian Party of Vermont.
While the VGP failed to win any elections, the party continued to nominate a slate of candidates for state office, and most of the candidates received one percent or more of the popular vote. The Grassroots Party of Vermont fielded candidates representing a mixture of liberal and libertarian views; The VGP dissolved in 2004, the membership spread out among Vermont's political scene.
The Grassroots Party of California was formed in 2014 by former members of the Vermont Grassroots Party that moved to California. In 2015 the California Grassroots Party (CGP) nominated political / social sciences author Marvin Sotelo to run for the U.S. House of Representatives (California's 40th congressional district) leading the ticket as a candidate for congressman making way for the 2016 elections. The Grassroots Party will run a slate of candidates in 2016 for several offices, including governor, U.S Senate, city council, auditor of accounts, and attorney general.
U.S. Presidential candidates
Jack Herer ran as the Grassroots Party candidate for U.S. President in 1988 and 1992 . In 1996 the Grassroots Party of Minnesota nominated Dennis Peron, its first presidential nominee, in the presidential election. In 2000, the Grassroots Party of Vermont nominated Denny Lane as its presidential candidate. In 2012, the Grassroots Party nominated Minnesota businessman Jim Carlson as its presidential candidate.
Results in presidential elections
|Year||Candidate||State(s) on the Ballot||Popular Votes||Percentage|
|1996||Dennis Peron||MN, VT||5,378||0.01%|
- Shetterly, Will (2008-08-08). "Will Shetterly: Biography".
- "Minnesota Secretary of State, 2000 US Senate Election Results". 2000-11-07.
- http://www.dcpoliticalreport.com/members/2000/pres00.htm 2000 Presidential Candidates on the Ballot
- KBJR-TV (June 29, 2012) "Duluth Head Shop Owner Continues Presidential Bid", MSNBC. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- "Grassroots Party Nominates a Presidential Ticket", Ballot Access News. July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- Bickford, Bob; Ballot Access News (1998-10-07). "1996 Presidential Votes by State".