History of the Green Party of the United States

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The Green Party is a United States political party. It has its origins dating back to 1984, when 62 people from around the U.S. came to St. Paul, MN to found the first national Green organization - the Committees of Correspondence. Since then, U.S. Greens have gone through several evolutions, from debating theory and praxis in the 1980s, to starting state parties in the 1990s, to the founding of a national political party (recognized by the Federal Elections Commission) in the 2000s.

Roots in the Bioregional Movement[edit]

At the first North American Bio-regional Congress, May 21–26, 1984 (convened by David Haenke of the Ozark Area Community Congress and held near Excelsior Springs in rural Missouri),[1] a group met to discuss the need for a green movement in the U.S., and approved a Green Movement Committee statement "concerning the formation of a Green political organization in the USA."[2] From this initial gathering, a larger meeting was planned for August.

The Green Movement Committee statement presaged the "Ten Key Values" that later were adopted by the Green Party.

Green Committees of Correspondence[edit]

On August 10–12, 1984 62 people met at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota and founded the Committees of Correspondence or CoC (so named after the Committees of Correspondence of the American Revolutionary War).

The three-day meeting included activists from peace, ecology and justice groups; veterans of the women's, civil rights, and community movements; and farmers, community leaders, church activists and teachers. There were social ecologists, deep ecologists, eco-feminists, anarchists, socialists and more. The organizing committee was Charlene Spretnak of California, professor and author of several books on Green philosophy and spirituality, Harry Boyte, Catherine Burton, Gloria Goldberg and David Haenke; and they invited 200 people from 27 issues areas. Others in attendance included Jim Berry, Linda Bulluord, Dan Chodorkoff, Howie Hawkins, Eleanor LeCain, John Marks and Mark Satin.

The CoC was broadly formed to organize local Green groups and work toward creating a Green political organization in the U.S, including the forming of an interim Inter-Regional Committee (IC).[3][4]

The meeting also started the creation of the Green Ten Key Values, as the new organization's guiding principles. Differing accounts of this process have been written by Satin[5] and Spretnak.[6] The IC would meet approximately three times a year until 1991.

The first CoC clearinghouse was established in late 1984 in St. Paul with Harry Boyte, but was hampered by a division at the Macalester meeting as to its role, with a division between those who favored coordinated decentralization and those favoring radical decentralization, to the degree that the clearinghouse be a mail drop and information resource, but not an outreach vehicle.[citation needed]

At the December 1985 IC meeting in Kansas City, the decision was taken that both the IC and the clearinghouse should actively support organizing efforts through a number of services. The clearinghouse was moved to Kansas City where there was a local organisation (the Prairie Greens) to actively support it. Dee Berry became the clearinghouse coordinator,[7] with support from Ben Kjelshus, and she served in that role until 1989. At that time IC Bulletin, the CoC newsletter and the Green Letter, a newsletter published by Jerry Gwathney, were the main channels of information.

First National Green Gathering, 1987[edit]

The First National Green Gathering was held July, 1987 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and was entitled "Building the Green Movement - A National Conference for a New Politics." The conference brochure stated "We invite all Greens and activists in kindred social change movements to participate in this educational conference. We are not gathering to make decisions for the Green movement. Our purpose is education. It will be a chance for Greens and activists in kindred movements from across the land to meet, share perspectives, and learn from each other - and take what we learn back to our communities to put into practice."

Over 600 were in attendance. Some of the tensions within the U.S. Green movement were on display at the time - 'party vs. movement', 'deep ecology vs. social ecology' and 'New Left vs. New Age.'[8] Featured speakers included Grace Lee Boggs, Murray Bookchin, Walt Bresette, Guy Chichester, Barbara Epstein, Danny Moses, John Rensenbrink and Ynestra King. Workshops included a session on Independent Political Action. Other well-known Greens in attendance included Dee Berry, Kathy Christensen, Greta Gaard, Gerald Goldfarb, Howie Hawkins, Phil Hill, Myra Levy, Roberto Mendoza, Lorna Salzman, Brian Tokar and Nancy Vogl.

Strategic Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA)[edit]

After the Amherst gathering, focus shifted to developing a set of Green policies approaches based upon the Key Values, that might further define and unite U.S. Greens. At the August 1987 IC meeting in Kansas City, Green Letter editor Margo Adair and John Rensenbrink of Maine were selected principal coordinators of what would come to be called the SPAKA process - Strategic Policy Approaches in Key Areas. "SPAKA was to create a participatory process to formulate a Green platform for the U.S. - to create an identity" as Adair and Rensenbrink explained. Any why a participatory process? "Democracy is not about deciding if you support this or that person to do politics for you. True democracy is creating policy collectively."

The first step was a call for topics, which went out to all the Green locals, and to many kindred organizations and individuals. At the Austin IC meeting in January 1988, the responses were organized into 11 major categories: Ecology, Economy, Politics, Social Justice, Personal Values, Human Needs, Community, Peace and Non-violence, Organizing, Strategy and Common Action.

Over the next year and a half, 190 position papers - or SPAKAS - were submitted by Greens locals and others from the grassroots. They were reclassified into 19 key areas by the Merrymeeting Greens of Maine, a Green local acting on behalf of the working group. The 19 were Energy, Forest and Forestry, Life Forms, Materials Use and Waste Management, Water/Air, General Economic Analysis, Finance, Land Use, Politics, Social Justice, Eco-Philosophy, Spirituality, Education, Food and Agriculture, Health, Peace and Non-violence, Community, Organizing, and Strategy.

Then came the Green Program Gathering - Green Gathering 1989, in Eugene, OR. Policy approaches were provisionally approved by delegates, in order to send them back to the Green locals (GCoCs) for an additional year of review and input. During this year Christa Slaton became the SPAKA coordinator. The final document was approved at the Third Green Gathering, held in Estes Park, CO in September 1990.

Greening the West, 1988[edit]

The Greening the West conference, was held at the Jones Gulch YMCA camp in a redwood grove in (San Mateo County), California on September 30 - October 2, 1988. It was hosted by the Northern California Greens, one of the regional affiliates of the Greens Committees of Correspondence. The planning group was Bay Area Greens Danny Moses, Greg Jan, Richard Gustafson and Jess Shoup.

More than 1,000 people attended. Speakers included many important philosophers and scientists, including Margo Adair, Peter Berg, David Brower, Ernest Callenbach, Fritjof Capra, Bill Devall (co-author of Deep Ecology), Patricia Ellsberg, Harold Gilliam, Susan Griffin, Joanna Macy, Jerry Mander, Julia Russell, Charlene Spretnak (co-author with Capra of "Green Politics: the Global Promise"), Starhawk, and Brian Swimme.

The conference featured a workshop entitled "Towards a Green Party of the West: Local and Regional Electoral Strategies", which would turn out to be an early stepping stone in the development of a U.S. Green electoral politics. Facilitated by Danny Moses (who would be the California Green Lt. Governor candidate in 1994), some 150 people attended the workshop and moved ahead with forming Green Party of the West, 'a network to facilitate campaigns for initiatives, referendums and local independent Green candidates.' That network would grow and help form the nucleus for the founding of the Green Party of California 15 months later.

Second National Green Gathering, 1989[edit]

The Second National Green Gathering was held June 21–25, 1989 in Eugene, OR. It was entitled 'Green Program Gathering', because it centered upon the SPAKA process (Strategic Policy Approaches in Key Areas), to craft a nationally agreed upon set of Green policy approaches for the GCoC.

The SPAKA process began in 1987 and by Eugene, 190 SPAKAS has been submitted in 19 issue areas. Each issue area had a working group focused on it in Eugene, synthesizing that input. The local GCoC in Eugene produced a daily Green Tidings, reporting on the Gathering, and contained a daily report on all changes in the 19 subject areas.

After three days of working group, the Saturday plenary was devoted to reports from each issue area working group, with decision-making reserved Sunday. With 19 issue areas to consider, this gave working groups a chance to receive input and revise their documents, which many did. According to Rensenbrink, the role of Green Tiding was critical "It is doubtful if the two-stage plenary could have been effective without this "instant feed-back," not only for each working group, but for all the participants together. Each person walking into the plenary on Sunday had the entire revised text in hand.

On Sunday, policy approaches in all 19 policy areas either received consensus or at least 80% of delegates. Those approaches were then published in Green Letter and sent back to the locals for a year of review, with final approval set for Green Gathering 1990, in Estes Park, CO.

At the same time this policy-making was going on, there were well attended Strategy workshops on Thursday and Friday, and highly attended nightly Left Green-sponsored discussions and debates.

Afterward Eugene, the Politics Working Group issued a statement encouraging Green electoral activity but recommending that Greens begin running candidates at the local level and only proceed to the state and then to the national level when there were a substantial number of Green officeholders at the level immediately below.[9]

The main organizers of the Eugene Gathering were Jeff Lamb and Irene Diamond. The Gathering was attended reporters from the LA Weekly, Mother Jones, New Age Journal, Pacific News Service, Pacifica Radio, Utne Reader, Z Magazine and New Options.[10]

Greens/Green Party USA[edit]

The Greens/Green Party USA (Greens/GPUSA) was founded at the August 1991 Green Gathering in Elkins, WV, restructuring the Green Committees of Correspondence with the idea that the Green movement and Green Party would operate as part of a single organization. A press conference was held in Washington, DC to announce the new organization, featuring Charles Betz (G/GPUSA Coordinating Committee member), Howie Hawkins and Joni Whitmore (Chair, Green Party of Alaska), as well as Hilda Mason of the D.C. Statehood Party, and was featured on C-SPAN.

Subsequent Green Gatherings were held in Minneapolis, MN (Augsburg College, July 1992); Syracuse, NY (August 1993); Boise, ID (July 1994), Albuquerque, NM (University of New Mexico, July 27–30, 1995), Los Angeles (UCLA, August 1996); and Lawrence, MA (August 1997).

Association of State Green Parties[edit]

In the aftermath of the first Green presidential campaign in 1996, 62 Greens from 30 states gathered over the weekend of November 16–17, 1996 to found the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The meeting was held at the historic Glen-Ora Farm in Middleburg, Virginia where John Kennedy had his weekend retreat in his administration's early days (rented to the president by the mother of meeting host and Nader supporter Elaine Broadhead.)

The pre story is that coming out of the Elkins meeting in 1991 there was a committee tasked with examining what an eventual Green Party might look it. The committee produced a report with contributions from 6 authors. Greg Gerritt's suggestion was for the creation of an Association of State Green Parties based on sovereign state parties, essentially how all parties end up structured in the US. The reaction of the GPUSA to this suggestion was to throw Gerritt out of the GPUSA, What was founded in 1996 in Middleburg very closely reflected the proposal Gerritt had submitted in early 1992.

Green Parties from 13 states were the founding members,[11] and approved an initial set of bylaws that set out the ASGP's purpose: (1) Assist in the development of State Green Parties and (2) Create a legally structured national Green Party.[12] The founding meeting also established a national newsletter Green Pages, which carries forward today as the newspaper of the GPUS. The founding editor was Mike Feinstein.

Subsequent ASGP meetings occurred in Portland, OR (April 5–6, 1997), Topsham, ME (October 3–5, 1997),Santa Fe, NM (April 24–26, 1998), Moodus, CT (June 5–6, 1999) and Hiawassee, GA (December 8–10, 2000). Ralph Nader appeared in Moodus to talk about running for president the next year.

The concept of the ASGP began in 1992 with those involved in the establishment of the Green Politics Network. The ASGP was predominantly focused on establishing state Green Parties and running and electing Greens for public office, even while its member state parties and the individual Greens involved remained involved in issue activism. From 1997 to 1999, as more state Green Parties continued to form, a competitive environment between the ASGP and the Greens/GPUSA began to develop in terms of who would affiliate with which organization.

In December 1999, Santa Monica, CA Green City Councilmember Mike Feinstein and New York Green Howie Hawkins met in New Platz, New York during the state meeting of the Green Party of New York State and crafted the 'Plan for a Single National Green Party, which was more generally known as the Feinstein/Hawkins Proposal, meant to create a single national Green Party from among the ASGP and GPUSA by Earth Day, April 2000. The proposal found quick support within the ASGP, but not within the Greens/GPUSA in time for Earth Day.[13]

Instead it would be in October 2000 that the Feinstein/Hawkins proposal was revisited, negotiated further and renamed the Boston Agreement (so named because it was negotiated in Boston in the days before the first 2000 presidential debate)[14] The Boston agreement was approved was by the ASGP at its December 2000 meeting in Hiawasee, GA, but did not pass at the April 2001 G/GPUSA Congress. This caused a schism in membership among the G/GPUSA from which they never recovered.

In an article on the G/GPUSA’s website, the organization characterized the split between itself and the ASGP as akin to the fundi–realo split in the German Greens, with itself being the fundi wing and ASGP the realos.[15]

Green Party of the United States[edit]

At its July 2001 meeting in Santa Barbara, the ASGP voted to change its name to "The Green Party of the United States" and apply for recognition of National Committee status by the FEC, which it was granted later that year and has retained since.

Electoral participation[edit]

The first U.S. Greens to run for public office came in 1985: Wes Hare for Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC and Richard D. Wolff and Joel Schecter for Mayor and Alderman of New Haven, CT.[16] A year later the first U.S. Greens to be elected were David Conley, County Board of Supervisors, Douglas County, WI and Frank Koehn, County Board of Supervisors, Bayfield County, WI. Also in 1986, Greg Gerritt would become the first Green to run for a state legislature, running for the Maine House of Representatives.

The first state Green party to achieve ballot status was Alaska in 1990, based upon Jim Sykes receiving 3.4% for governor of Alaska. The next state parties to qualify came in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawai'i in 1992, and Maine in 1994.

The first Green to be elected to a state legislature was Audie Bock, who won a March 31, 1999 special election as a state legislator in the California Assembly from the Alameda/Oakland area. In 2000, Bock lost re-election, running as an independent after leaving the Greens just five months after taking office.

In November 2002, John Eder's election to the Maine House of Representatives marked the first Green Party state legislator in the United States elected in a regular election. His party designation was "Green Independent". In 2004, despite redistricting by Democrats in Maine that threatened to unseat Eder, he nevertheless won re-election.[17] However, he was defeated in 2006.

In January 2003, New Jersey Democrat Matt Ahearn became the first sitting state legislator to change to Green. Elected in 2002, Ahearn became increasingly uncomfortable about the role of big money in influencing his fellow legislators, particularly the Democrats. He was defeated in November 2003 in his bid for re-election, after being specifically targeted by the Democrats.

In November 2008, Richard Carroll was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives. However, Carroll announced on April 29, 2009 his departure from the Greens and registering as a Democrat, citing personal ideological differences that were more in line of the Democratic Party.

1996 Presidential Election[edit]

At the 1995 national Green Gathering in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hosted by the New Mexico Green Party, a proposal by Steven Schmidt (New Mexico), Mike Feinstein and Greg Jan (California) to put a candidate for president on 40 states was adopted. A significant minority of Greens voiced strong ideological objections (based on the principle of decentralization) to the proposal to become involved in such a large-scale political arena for the first time.[18] Those who wished to run a candidate for president continued to pursue the possibility. Working within their state parties, as well as through an independent organization called Third Parties '96,[19] they convinced Ralph Nader to accept placement on the Green Party of California's March 1996 primary ballot. Eventually he accepted placement on more ballots, but ran a limited campaign with a self-imposed campaign spending limit of $5,000 (which allowed him to avoid being subject to the obligation to file campaign finance statements with the FEC). He chose Winona LaDuke as his vice-presidential candidate. A convention was held at UCLA in Los Angeles on August 20, 1996[20] where each state party who placed Nader on the ballot told their story,[21] followed by a two-hour and twenty minute acceptance speech by Nader[22] that was broadcast on C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio - the first time Greens in the U.S. had that kind of national exposure. Nader/LaDuke were on the ballot in twenty-two states and received 685,297 votes, or 0.7% of all votes cast.[23]

2000 Presidential Election[edit]

In September 1998, the New Mexico Green Party proposed that an ASGP Presidential Exploratory Committee be established for the 2000 elections. The ASGP Coordinating Committee passed the proposal on October 30, and on December 20 the ASGP Steering Committee appointed a seven-person committee, chaired by then Texas Green David Cobb. On February 22, 1999 the Committee sent this letter and questionnaire to prospective presidential and vice presidential candidates, asking if they were interested in running on the Green Party ticket in 2000 and if so, how would they envision conducing the campaign: Wendell Berry, Jerry Brown, Lester Brown, Noam Chomsky, Ron Daniels, Ron Dellums, Lani Guinier, Dan Hamburg, Woody Harrelson, Paul Hawken, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Winona LaDuke, Bill McKibben, Cynthia McKinney, Carol Miller, Toni Morrison, Ralph Nader, Ron Ouellette (requested the questionnaire), John Robbins and Jan Schlichtmann. On May 10 the committee also sent the letter and questionnaire to: Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Joceyln Elders, Kurt Schmoke, Studs Terkel, Myrlie Evers-Williams and General Lee Butler.

Brown, McKibben, Chomsky, Guinier, Hawken, Miller wrote back declining, but all graciously thanking the ASGP for its outreach, and offering sympathetic statements of support for the Green Party project.

Nader also replied: "If I seek the nomination - a decision that will not be made until next year- and receive that designation, I will pursue a dedicated and thorough campaign that meets the Federal Election Commission requirements. Such an active campaign will have the objective of strengthening our nation’s democracy by strengthening the Green Party movement at the local, state and national levels; by emphasizing the problems of, and remedies for, the excessive concentration of corporate power and wealth in our country, by highlighting the important tools of democracy needed for the American people as voters/citizens, workers, consumers, taxpayers, and small savers/investors. If there are Greens who support my seeking the nomination, I encourage them to expand the number of volunteers and increase the time spent working to build the Green Party this year in order to advance the Party’s “Key Values” and to increase the likelihood of ballot access in all fifty states."

Ralph Nader, 1996 and 2000 nominee

At it June 23–25 convention in Denver,[24] the ASGP nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for president and vice-president. The pair appeared on 44 state ballots and received 2,883,105 votes, or 2.7 percent of all votes cast.[25] Nader's strong showing in several states solidified the changes in the Green Party, transforming it from an "anti-party party" to an organization primarily dedicated to electoral campaigns. In particular, that was the widespread understanding of thousands of recruits to the party, as it went through an unprecedented rate of growth.

At the same time, with the razor thin presidential margin in Florida helping lead to a George W. Bush presidency, many Democrats and others accused Nader of being responsible for Al Gore, the Democratic Party nominee, not being elected. Instead of taking responsibility for Gore (and his well financed national campaign) for not persuading more voters to vote for him; and ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore that awarded the presidency to Bush, these critics painted Nader as a spoiler candidate, something repeated ever since by the major media as fact.

This criticism put Nader's supporters and many Green Party members on the defensive. In response, Greens argued that no one owns anyone's votes. Subsequent academic studies also disputed the spoiler argument,[26] but the tsunami directed at the Green Party had already struck, affecting Nader and the Green Party for years to come, and arguably playing a role in David Cobb receiving the Green Party presidential nomination 2004.

2004 Presidential Election[edit]

In the 2004 presidential election, the candidate of the Green Party of the United States for President was Texas attorney and GPUS legal counsel David Cobb, and its candidate for vice-president was labor activist Pat LaMarche of Maine.

In the Summer of 2003, as the 2004 elections loomed, Greens began an often-heated debate on party presidential strategy. Democrats, liberal activists, and liberal journalists were counseling and pressuring the Green Party and Ralph Nader not to run a presidential ticket. In response, a diverse cross-section of U.S. Greens issued "Green & Growing: 2004 in Perspective" a statement initiated by national party Green Party of the United States co-chair Ben Manski. "Green & Growing"'s 158 signatories declared that "We think it essential to build a vigorous presidential campaign," citing as their chief reasons the need to gain ballot access for the Green Party, to define the Greens as an independent party, and the failures of the Democrats on issues of foreign and domestic policy.[27] Other Greens, most prominently Ted Glick in his "A Green Party Safe States Strategy", called on the party to adopt a strategy of avoiding swing states in the upcoming presidential election.[28] A third, intermediate "smart states" position was drafted by Dean Myerson and adopted by David Cobb, advocating a "nuanced" state-by-state strategy based on ballot access, party development, swing state, and other concerns.

On Christmas Eve 2003, Ralph Nader declared that he would not seek the Green Party's nomination for president in 2004, and in February 2004 announced his intention to run as an independent, but later did decide to seek endorsement (rather than the nomination) of the Green Party, and other third parties. Several Greens, most notably Peter Camejo, as well as Lorna Salzman and others, endorsed this plan (Camejo would later accept a position as Nader's vice-presidential running-mate) (see Nomination controversy, below).

The Cobb-LaMarche ticket in 2004 appeared on 28 of the 51 ballots around the country, down from the Greens' 44 in 2000; the Nader-Camejo ticket in 2004 appeared on 35 ballots. In 2004, Cobb was on the ballot in California (and Nader was not), whereas Nader was on the ballot in New York (and Cobb was not).

Cobb-LaMarche received 119,859 votes. Some Greens were not discouraged by the relatively low presidential vote yield in 2004 for Cobb and for Nader, because the Green Party continued to grow in many parts of the country, increasing Green Party affiliation numbers and fielding Green candidates for congressional, state, and local offices. Nader, running in most states as an independent (but with high-profile Green Party activist Peter Camejo as his running mate), eceived 465,650 votes.

The number of registered Greens declined by about 23,000 between January 2004 and March 2005, in contrast to a previous period of uninterrupted growth from 1998; the number of Green candidacies declined compared to 2002, and these candidates fared worse than in the past, particularly during the presidential campaign.[29]

Nomination controversy[edit]

When Nader announced that he would run as an independent candidate, and later explained that he was not seeking the Green Party's nomination, but would (as an independent) seek the party's "endorsement", factions within the party which had been lining up behind potential candidates solidified into an endorsement camp and a nomination camp (the latter favoring primarily David Cobb).

On June 26, 2004, the Green National Convention nominated Cobb, who promised to focus on building the party. Just over a third of the delegates voted "No Nominee" with the intent to later vote for a Nader endorsement. Pat LaMarche of Maine was nominated for vice-president. Cobb and Nader emphasized different strategies. Cobb promised to run a "strategic states" campaign based on the preferences and needs of the individual state Green parties; as a result, Cobb campaigned heavily in some battleground states and not in others. Nader intended to run a national multiparty ticket uniting the Greens with other parties.

After David Cobb received the party's 2004 presidential nomination at the Green National Convention[30] in Milwaukee, apparently in a show of unity, Nader's Vice Presidential running mate, Peter Camejo, said, "I'm going to walk out of here arm in arm with David Cobb." However, the nominating convention and the political discussions and maneuvering before it generated considerable controversy within the party. At issue was the apportionment of delegates and the method used to determine how many delegates each state received. The group Greens for Democracy and Independence, inspired by the principles in Peter Camejo's Avocado Declaration (in part a response to Nader's declaration not to seek the Green nomination), arose and became an organizing group for Greens disaffected with the internal policies and procedures of the GPUS, and sought reforms.

Two supporters of Camejo, Carol Miller and Forrest Hill, wrote one of a number of articles printed after the convention, including Rigged Convention; Divided Party',[31] alleging that the convention elections had been undemocratic. Many Green Party members were upset at the nomination convention's process and results, and some expressed "embarrassment" that Nader was not the party's 2004 candidate.

Other Green Party members responded[32] that the analysis they gave in the article was fundamentally flawed[33] to produce skewed results. One such response was that of the national party Secretary, Greg Gerritt, who self-published a book on the subject, Green Party Tempest.[34]

2006 Elections[edit]

The Greens fielded candidates in a number of races in 2006. The party won 66 races nationwide, including 21 in California and 11 in Wisconsin. One of the biggest victories included the election of Gayle McLaughlin as mayor in Richmond, California. Richmond now has become the first city with over 100,000 residents to have a Green mayor. In Maine, Pat LaMarche received nearly 10% of the vote in the state's gubernatorial race and the Maine Green Independent Party also won two seats on the Portland City Council. In the Illinois governor's race, candidate Rich Whitney received 10%, making the Green Party one of only three legally established, statewide political parties in Illinois.[citation needed] In Colorado's First District, Tom Kelly received 21% of the vote in his run for the U.S. Congress. However, the party lost its only elected state representative, John Eder.

The Green Party of Pennsylvania, faced with an exceptionally high ballot access petition requirement, chose to run Green Party organizer, Carl Romanelli, for U.S. Senate. The race between incumbent, Rick Santorum, and the son of a former Governor, Bob Casey, was already prominent on the national scene. Although a strong volunteer petition effort gathered 20,000 to 30,000 signatures, it was clear that paid petitioners would be needed to clear the 67,000 signature threshold.

After Romanelli filed 99,000 signatures the Democrats challenged the petitions, and the Judge ordered the lawyers and nine representatives from each side to work full-time reviewing signatures line by line, which continued for six weeks. Near the end of September the Judge abruptly ruled that Romanelli would be removed from the ballot. Following the controversial precedent set in the 2004 challenge to Nader's petitions in Pennsylvania, Romanelli and his lawyer were later assessed $81,000 for court costs and the challenger's expenses. The Green Party, having no statewide candidates on the ballot to get the required vote threshold, lost its "minor party" status in Pennsylvania, leaving only two parties still recognized by the state.

Approximately 8.7 million Americans voted for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and for impeachment resolutions on local and state ballots that were initiated or supported by Greens. Troop withdrawal initiatives won in 34 of 42 localities in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Madison, and La Crosse, and all 11 communities in Illinois, including Chicago. Of 139 cities and towns in Massachusetts voting on the troop withdrawal measures, only a handful voted nay on initiatives demanding that Congress and the White House end the war immediately.[35]

2008 Presidential election[edit]

In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the Green Party nominated former six-term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney of Georgia as its 2008 Presidential nominee and Rosa Clemente as its 2008 Vice Presidential nominee at the party's 2008 National Convention on July 12, 2008 in Chicago, IL. McKinney received 161,797 votes [0.12%] nationwide.[36] The following candidates also sought the Green nomination and were recognized as such by the [Green Party of the United States]:

The Green Party of Minnesota hosted a Green Party Presidential Forum on Saturday January 5 in Minneapolis.[40] It was followed by a January 13 presidential debate in San Francisco, co-sponsored by the Green Party of Alameda County, the San Francisco Green Party and the National Delegates Committee of the Green Party of California.[41] About 800 people attended, with most paying a suggested donation of $10 to $20 to attend.[42] The three-hour event was co-moderated by Cindy Sheehan and Aimee Allison.

Former Green Party presidential nominee and 2004 independent candidate, Ralph Nader,[43] announced in early 2008 that he would seek the presidency for the fourth time, running with San Francisco lawyer and Green politician Matt Gonzalez as his running mate. However, Nader and Gonzalez declined to seek the Green Party's nomination.[44] Despite not being a formally announced candidate at the time, Nader won the Feb. 5th California and Massachusetts Green Party primaries.

Primaries and caucuses[edit]

Green Party primaries in Arkansas, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts were held on February 5, 2008. California and Massachusetts were won by Ralph Nader, while Illinois was won by Cynthia McKinney. Washington, DC held the DC Statehood Green Party primary on February 12 which was won by McKinney as was the February 19 Wisconsin Green primary.[45] On May 13 Mckinney won the Nebraska primary with 57% of the vote.[46]

Nomination delegate count[edit]

2008 Green Party National Convention total vote count
Candidate Presidential Primaries
& Caucuses Apportioned
National Convention
Delegates' Vote2
(542 total)
Cynthia McKinney 304½ 324
Ralph Nader3 147 85½
Kat Swift 24 38½
Kent Mesplay 29½ 35
Jesse Johnson 27 32½
Elaine Brown 9 9
Jared Ball4 11 8
No candidate 10
Uncommitted 40 2
Color key: 1st place 2nd place Withdrawn
3rd place 4th place 5th place
1 "2008 Green Party Presidential Nomination Delegate Count". GPUS. July 3, 2008. 
2 "2008 Presidential Convention Ballot Results". GPUS. July 2008. 
3 Nader did not seek the Green Party nomination. His total includes 8 delegates from
Illinois where Howie Hawkins stood on the ballot in his place.
4 Endorsed Cynthia McKinney.

Ballot access[edit]

There are 31 states plus the District of Columbia where the Green Party has achieved a ballot line in 2008[47] representing just over 70% of voters[48] and 68% of Electoral Votes.

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente were write-in candidates in all other states with the exceptions of Oklahoma and South Dakota which do not allow write-ins.[49][50]

See also[edit]

Sources and further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "North American Bioregional Congress Proceedings" (JPG). Cagreens.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  2. ^ "Green Movement Committee Statement" (JPG). Cagreens.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  3. ^ "A Historical Look at Green Structure: 1984 to 1992". Greens.org. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  4. ^ Summer 1985 CoC newsletter
  5. ^ "Birth of the Green Party's Ten Key Values". Radicalmiddle.com. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  6. ^ "Green Horizon Magazine" (PDF). Green-horizon.org. 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Dee Berry". Gp.org. 2008-07-11. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  8. ^ "New Options" (PDF). Radicalmiddle.com. June 30, 1987. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  9. ^ "S/R 14: A Historical Look at Green Structure: 1984 to 1992". Greens.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  10. ^ "New Options" (PDF). Radicalmiddle.com. June 30, 1989. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  11. ^ John Rensenbrink. "Maine Greens - John Rensenbrink - Report on the ASGP Middleburg Meeting 1996". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  12. ^ "Green Pages". Gp.org. 1996-11-17. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  13. ^ "The Greens/Green Party USA". Greenparty.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
  14. ^ "See full text of the Boston Agreement". Greens.org. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  15. ^ http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.greenparty.org%2Fwhy.php&date=2015-05-31
  16. ^ "Green Elections". Greens.org. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  17. ^ "Green Pages". Gp.org. Retrieved 2015-03-16. 
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