Maine Green Independent Party
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|Co-Chairs||Jon Olsen & Niomi Larrivee|
|Headquarters||PO BOX 10345, Portland, Maine, 04104|
|Political position||Center-left to left-wing|
|National affiliation||Green Party of the United States|
|Seats in the US Senate|
0 / 2
|Seats in the US House|
0 / 2
|Seats in the Maine Senate|
0 / 35
|Seats in the Maine House|
0 / 151
|Nonvoting Seats in the Maine House|
0 / 3
|Local offices||6 (2021) |
|Part of a series on|
The Maine Green Independent Party is a state-level political party affiliated with the Green Party of the United States. It is the oldest state green party in the United States. It was founded following an informal meeting of 18 environmental advocates, including Bowdoin College professor John Rensenbrink and others in Augusta, Maine in January 1984. From 1994 to 2006, the party's gubernatorial nominees received between 6% and 10% of the vote.
On September 21, 2017, state representative Ralph Chapman switched party affiliation from independent to the Green Independent Party. He did not stand for re-election in 2018 because he was term-limited. A month later, non voting member Henry John Bear also switched his party affiliation to the Green Independent Party from the Democratic Party.
Ten Key Values
The party is based on the 10 Key Values of:
- Grassroots Democracy
- Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
- Ecological Wisdom
- Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice
- Gender Equality
- Respect for Diversity
- Personal and Global Responsibility
- Future Focus and Sustainability
The party achieved its current ballot status in 1998. Previously the Maine Green Party achieved ballot status in 1994 with the Jonathan Carter gubernatorial campaign, but lost it in 1997 after Ralph Nader failed to get 5% of the vote for president in 1996, a requirement of state law that has since been changed.
In 1998, Pat LaMarche requalified the political party with her campaign for governor, but under the a new name, the Maine Green Independent Party. LaMarche ran again in 2006 capturing almost 10% of the vote in a five-way race. The campaign's website was indexed by the Library of Congress and won a Golden Dot Award, because of the site's use of new ways to interact with voters.
The party (in terms of registered votes) is currently in a period of continuous growth stretching back to 1998 according to state records. As of December 4, 2008 there were 31,676 Greens in the state comprising 3.19% of the electorate.
As of November 6, 2012, 37,764 Maine voters were registered in the Maine Green Independent Party, representing 3.83% of the statewide electorate.
As of August 31, 2017, enrollment in the MGIP had increased to 43,996 (4.23%) of Maine voters.
In August 2015, the party decided to open its 2016 primary to unenrolled voters.
The party realizes its greatest successes in the state's largest city, Portland. From 2002 to 2006, the highest-ranking elected Green in the United States was John Eder, who served in the Maine House of Representatives for Portland's West End neighborhood. Four of the state's elected Greens are Portland officeholders, including three School Committee members, and one City Councilor.
According to the Green Party of the United States, Portland holds the longest streak of elected Green officeholders, having Greens in office continuously since 2001.
The first Green elected in Portland was Ben Meiklejohn in 2001, as an at-large School Committee member. In 2002, city voters elected their second Green, Eder to the State Legislature. Meiklejohn was joined on the School Committee by Stephen Spring in 2003, Jason Toothaker in 2004 (a year Meiklejohn was re-elected), Susan Hopkins in 2005 and Rebecca Minnick in 2006.
The School Committee was once the second "Greenest" governing body in the United States, and from 2004–2006, significant media attention was attributed to conflicts between the Committee's Greens and Democrats. The Greens successfully passed precedent-setting policy limiting military recruiters' access to city high schools, and were recognized by the National School Board Association.
The Board of Trustees of the Portland Water District became the next governing body in Portland to have Green members, after Erek Gaines was elected in 2003 and David Margolis-Pineo in 2006.
In 2006, Portland elected two under-30 Green councilors (David A. Marshall and Kevin Donoghue) in the inner city West End and East End districts. In 2007, John Anton was elected at-large, which brought the number of Greens on the Portland City Council to three. Both Anton and Donoghue later unenrolled from the party while serving their terms.
In 2008, John Eder was elected to the Cumberland County Charter Commission.
June to December 2009 marked a period when the most number of elected Greens in Portland (9) were serving simultaneously with overlapping terms, after Portland Charter Commission members were elected.
For the rewriting of the Portland charter, Greens Anna Trevorrow and Ben Chipman won seats on the Portland Charter Commission in June 2009. The two successfully pushed to include instant run-off voting in the new charter. They also supported extending voting rights in municipal elections to legal non-citizens. Trevorrow lead the 2010 campaign while also running for the East End seat in the Maine House of Representatives. Non-citizen voting was narrowly defeated as was Trevorrow.
In 2009, Donoghue and Marshall were both re-elected to the city council.
In the 2011 mayoral election, two Greens, (Eder and Marshall) ran for the expanded mayoral position, using the newly established instant run-off voting methods established by the charter commission and approved by voters the year before. In the closing days of the campaign, Eder endorsed fellow candidate and former Democratic State Senator Ethan Strimling, not party member Marshall, causing significant controversy within the Greens. Marshall ended up finishing in 4th place of 15 candidates.
In 2012, David Marshall (District 2) won re-election to the City Council. Holly Seeliger, a 26-year-old former Occupier and education activist, won election to the School Board (formerly School Committee) from District 2, the same district Stephen Spring had served in years before.
In March 2013, the Portland Green Independent Committee took out petitions to enact an ordinance which would make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older, though not in public spaces such as roads, schools and parks. Later, the Portland Greens were joined by the ACLU of Maine, the NAACP, the Libertarian Party of Maine, Fire Dog Lake, and the Marijuana Policy Project in endorsing the measure. The petition needed 1,500 valid signatures of Portland voters over 80 calendar days. The Portland Greens and their coalition partners turned in 2,508 valid signatures. On July 15, the City Council placed the ordinance on the November 5, 2013 ballot. On November 5, the Greens' legalization ordinance passed with 67% of the vote.
That same year, Anna Trevorrow was elected to an at-large seat on the School Board, joining Holly Seeliger. In 2014, John Eder was elected to the School Board, bringing the total number of Greens on the board to 3 for the first time since 2004. In 2015, six Greens sought office in Portland, including committee chair and economic justice activist Tom MacMillan, who ran for mayor and received over 10% in a three-way race with Michael Brennan and Ethan Strimling. That year, only Holly Seeliger, who sought a second term on the Portland Board of Education, won her race. In 2016 only one Green collected enough signatures to run for statewide office, Seth Baker was on the ballot as a Green Independent for State Senate District 27 in Portland.
2010, 2014 and 2018 gubernatorial elections
Lynne Williams, a lawyer from Bar Harbor and former chair of the Party, announced that she intended to seek the Green Independent Party nomination for Governor of Maine in the June 2010 primary. Williams served on the planning board in Bar Harbor, Maine and was a 2004 candidate for the Maine House of Representatives. She dropped out of the race after failing to receive enough signatures to qualify for the Green Independent primary ballot for governor. Patrick Quinlan also filed the paperwork to run for the nomination but eventually withdrew.
In April 2014, former Maliseet tribal representative to the Maine House of Representatives and University of Maine graduate student David Slagger announced his intention to seek the Green nomination for Governor of Maine in 2014. Slagger addressed the 2013 Maine Green Independent Party Convention in Belfast on May 5. However, two months later, Slagger decided to withdraw from the race for governor.
Two candidates filed to run for the Green nomination for Governor in 2018: Bangor attorney Jay Parker Dresser, the 2016 Green candidate for Maine's 2nd congressional district, and activist Betsy Marsano of Waldo. Both withdrew before the 2018 primary, leaving the Green Independents without a candidate for the third straight gubernatorial election.
In 2020, Green Senate nominee Lisa Savage received 4.95 percent of the vote, marking the best percentage for a third party in the state's history of electing Senate candidates (beginning in 1914). Unable to gather the requisite signatures to make the Green Independent primary ballot, Savage instead opted to run with the Independent ballot label. Her record-breaking vote share was credited partly to the state's ranked-choice voting system for statewide elections, first implemented in 2018. That year, K. Frederick Horch, the Green nominee for the Maine State House's 49th district, also came close to winning his race, receiving 48.06 percent of the vote against a Democratic opponent, with no Republican on the ballot. This market the first time a Green candidate had come to winning a seat in a contested state legislature election since 2010, when a Green legislative nominee in Massachusetts received 45 percent of the vote.
|1994||Jonathan Carter||32,695 (6.39%)|
|1998||Pat LaMarche||28,722 (6.82%)|
|2002||Jonathan Carter||46,903 (9.28%)|
|2006||Pat LaMarche||52,690 (9.56%)|
Presidential nominee results
Since 1996, the national Green Party has run a candidate for President of the United States. In 1996, the Maine Green Party placed Ralph Nader, the nominee of the Green Party of the United States, on the statewide presidential ballot. The highest vote total came in 2000, when Ralph Nader received over 37,000 votes. The lowest vote total came in 2008, when Cynthia McKinney was the nominee. Her campaign received only 2,900 votes. Nader, who was also on the ballot as an independent candidate, received over 10,000 votes.
|1996||Ralph Nader||15,279 (2.52%)|
|2000||Ralph Nader||37,127 (5.70%)|
|2004||David Cobb||2,936 (0.40%)|
|2008||Cynthia McKinney||2,900 (0.40%)|
|2012||Jill Stein||8,119 (1.14%)|
|2016||Jill Stein||14,251 (1.91%)|
|2020||Howie Hawkins||8,230 (1.00%)|
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