Green Party of California

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Green Party of California
Founded1990; 31 years ago (1990)
Membership (2021)85,828[1]
Political positionLeft-wing
National affiliationGreen Party of the United States
Seats in the US Senate
0 / 2
Seats in the US House
0 / 53
Statewide Executive Offices
0 / 8
Seats in the State Senate
0 / 40
Seats in the State Assembly
0 / 80
Elected officials41 (2021)[2]

The Green Party of California (GPCA) is the California affiliate of the Green Party of the United States, founded in 1990.[3]

The party is ballot-qualified,[4] with 85,828 people registered in the party[1] and it espouses green politics and the Ten Key Values of ecological wisdom, nonviolence, social justice, grassroots democracy, decentralization, community-based economics, feminism, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and sustainability.[5] The key values of decentralization, grassroots democracy, and feminism influence the party's structure of being composed of autonomous county parties,[6][7] GPCA decisions being determined by General Assemblies of delegates from the county parties,[8] and Coordinating Committees' composition being determined by yearly, staggered-term elections of six women and six of any gender.[9] Party membership is possible for California residents who are denied the right to vote by the state in California or the U.S. federal state, provided they affirm the Ten Key Values, and meet other criteria.[10]

The three counties in which the party has the most people registered are Los Angeles (22,483),[11] San Diego (6,909),[12] and Alameda counties (5,215).[13] The counties in which the party has the highest percentages of the county's registrations are Humboldt (1.57%), Mendocino (1.50%), and Trinity counties (1.02%).[14] The party's June 2020 General Assembly took place virtually, by video- and teleconference.[15] Laura Wells is currently the party's only official spokesperson.[16]


Ballot Access[edit]

The party mobilized in 1991 to have registrations of over 83,000 people in the party[17] to meet the threshold of 1% of the vote in the previous general election (78,992 registrations), and thereby secured ballot-access.[18] To maintain qualified status in California, a party must have registered at least 1/15 of 1 percent (0.067%) of the number of the total registered in the state; and either have had a statewide candidate in the party receiving at least 2% of the vote in the most recent gubernatorial primary, or have at least 0.33 percent of the total number of voters registered.[19] The party has met the legal standards to keep continuous ballot access in California since 1992.[20]

In 1994, Margaret Garcia received 315,079 votes in the Secretary of State election, 3.8% of the total,[21] surpassing the 2 percent threshold necessary to retain statewide ballot status. The number of people that were required to be registered in a party for it to maintain ballot access rose to 89,007 during the November 1994 election. Green registrations dropped to 78,597 in January, 1995, meaning that had Garcia not received the total she did, the Green Party of California would have lost its ballot status. The party finally met the registrations requirement in September 1996, competing in the November general election with 95,080 registrations,[22] and has met the registration requirements since. The party has also had electoral results that could maintain the party's ballot access, in every election since first qualifying for the ballot.

As of February 2021, the party still meets all qualification standards. In California's 2018 primaries, Green candidate Mike Feinstein received 136,726 votes in the Secretary of State election, 2.1% of the total.[23] As of February 10, 2021, there are 85,828 registered party members accounting for 0.39 percent of registered voters in California.[1]

Notable Campaigns[edit]

In 1996 Arcata, California, a city with a population of about 17,000, became the first city ever to have a Green majority on the city council, with three of five seats.[24] Greens controlled the council from 1996–1998 and again from 2004-2006.

In the 2000s Gayle McLaughlin won elections as city councilor and mayor in Richmond, California, running with the Green Party designation.

During the 2016 presidential election, California Green registrations dropped 30%, from nearly 110,000[25] to 78,604.[26] Party spokesperson Mike Feinstein stated that "the Sanders campaign is absolutely destroying us,"[27] alleging that the Sanders campaign targeted Greens with mailers.[28] Thousands of California Greens decided to support Bernie Sanders' bid for the Democratic party presidential nomination, necessitating re-registration either into the Democratic party, or with No Party Preference (NPP), to vote for Sanders. Green mayor Gayle McLaughlin re-registered with NPP to vote for Sanders.[29] The Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) in California saw a similar registration drop-off.[30] The lowest point for the GPCA was around California's primary elections in June, and by the end of the general election, the GPCA's registrations rose back to 94,647 people, and the PFP rose back to original levels, also.[31]

The Jill Stein 2016 campaign worked to increase party registrations in California, and throughout the country.[32] Campaign staffer Bruce Dixon wrote that Sanders was a sheepdog candidate,[33] i.e. a candidate that dissuades people from politics outside of certain parties (the Democratic party in this case),[34][35][36][37][38] in favor of party politics within those parties,[39][40] despite the parties being opposed to the candidate's cause.[41][42][43][44][45] This results in lacking of parties and lacking of elections of candidates that would advance the sheepdog's politics;[46] and also results in captive constituencies[47][48] that feel compelled to support candidates that they deem the lessers of two evils.[49][50] Sheepdogs may advocate their strategy before exiting the electoral contest, which could occur because of disqualification (including unsuccessful primary elections), or retraction of candidacy, as was advocated by Sanders before his 2016 disqualification.[51][52][53][54] Stein more than tripled her nationwide vote count, compared to the 2012 result, up to 1,457,218 votes; and doing the same in California, receiving 278,657 votes.[55]

In the 2018 congressional elections, which utilized non-partisan blanket, "top two" primaries, three Green Party candidates advanced to the general elections. This was the first year that any Green candidates advanced since the implementation of the top-two primary after 2010. In the 13th congressional district (San Francisco and Alameda counties), Laura Wells advanced from a six candidate primary,[56] and received 34,257 votes in the general election, 11.6%.[57] In the 34th congressional district (Los Angeles County, California,) Kenneth Mejia advanced from a three candidate primary,[58] and received 41,711 votes in the general election, 27.5%.[59] In the 40th congressional district (Los Angeles County, California,) Rodolfo Cortes-Barragan advanced from the primary,[58] and received 27,511 votes in the general election, 22.7%.[60] Each faced off against Democratic party incumbent opponents in the general elections.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c California Secretary of State 2021a, p. 11.
  2. ^ Green Party of California 2021e.
  3. ^ Green Party of California 2020b, para. 1.
  4. ^ California Secretary of State 2021b, para. 3.
  5. ^ Green Party of California 2019, Article 2.
  6. ^ Green Party of California 2020c, para. 4.
  7. ^ Weintraub 1992, pars. 16-18.
  8. ^ Green Party of California 2020c, para. 2.
  9. ^ Green Party of California 2019, Section 8-2.1.
  10. ^ Green Party of California 2019, Section 3-1.
  11. ^ California Secretary of State 2021a, p. 7.
  12. ^ California Secretary of State 2021a, p. 9.
  13. ^ California Secretary of State 2021a, p. 5.
  14. ^ California Secretary of State 2021c, p. II.
  15. ^ Green Party of California 2020d, para. 1.
  16. ^ Green Party of California 2020e, para. 2.
  17. ^ Weintraub 1992, para. 19.
  18. ^ California Secretary of State 2018a, p. 8-2.
  19. ^ California Secretary of State 2021d, pars. 21-24.
  20. ^ Green Party of California 2020f, pars. 2-10.
  21. ^ California Secretary of State 1994, p. xi.
  22. ^ California Secretary of State 1996, p. viii.
  23. ^ California Secretary of State 2018b, p. 17.
  24. ^ Kirkpatrick 1997, para. 8.
  25. ^ California Secretary of State 2015, p. 7.
  26. ^ California Secretary of State 2016a, p. 7.
  27. ^ Harkinson 2016, pars. 1-2.
  28. ^ Harkinson 2016, para. 3.
  29. ^ Wildermuth 2017, para. 8.
  30. ^ Harkinson 2016, para. 5.
  31. ^ California Secretary of State 2016b, p. 7.
  32. ^ Garrison 2016, pars. 14-15.
  33. ^ Dixon 2015, para. 1.
  34. ^ Dixon 2015, pars. 1, 8.
  35. ^ Marshall 2015, pars. 11-14.
  36. ^ X 2017, pp. 206-207, in speech at Columbia University on November 20, 1963.
  37. ^ Hawkins 2015, pars. 12-15, 24, 35.
  38. ^ Hedges 2015, minutes 20-24, 26-29.
  39. ^ Dixon 2015, para. 9.
  40. ^ Hawkins 2015, pars. 19-20, 22.
  41. ^ Dixon 2015, pars. 2, 10.
  42. ^ Dixon 2016, pars. 7-9.
  43. ^ Hawkins 2015, pars. 1, 5-6, 10-11, 13, 20, 22.
  44. ^ Mook 2015, para. 1.
  45. ^ Brana 2019, pars. 1-12.
  46. ^ Dixon 2015, pars. 11-12.
  47. ^ Dixon 2016, pars. 1, 9, 11-16.
  48. ^ Frank 2016, pars. 27-31, 45.
  49. ^ Dixon 2015, para. 12.
  50. ^ Dixon 2016, pars. 9, 16.
  51. ^ Strauss 2016, pars. 1-14.
  52. ^ Tapper 2016, pars. 1-3, 10.
  53. ^ Linthicum 2016, pars. 9-10, 12.
  54. ^ Nutting 2016, pars. 6, 15-17.
  55. ^ California Secretary of State 2016c, p. 6.
  56. ^ California Secretary of State 2018b, p. 19.
  57. ^ California Secretary of State 2018c, p. 7.
  58. ^ a b California Secretary of State 2018b, p. 21.
  59. ^ California Secretary of State 2018c, p. 8.
  60. ^ California Secretary of State 2018c, p. 9.


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