Maine Green Independent Party

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Maine Green Independent Party
Co-ChairsLyn Maravell & Fred McCann
Senate leadershipNone
House leadershipNone
HeadquartersPO BOX 10345, Portland, Maine, 04104
Membership (2021)45,577[1]
IdeologyGreen politics
Social democracy
Political positionCenter-left to left-wing
National affiliationGreen 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 offices6 (2021) [2]

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.[3] It was founded following an informal meeting of 17 environmental advocates, including Bowdoin College professor John Rensenbrink and others in Augusta, Maine in January 1984.[4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7]

Ten Key Values[edit]

The party is based on the 10 Key Values of:

  1. Grassroots Democracy
  2. Social Justice and Equal Opportunity
  3. Ecological Wisdom
  4. Nonviolence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice
  7. Gender Equality
  8. Respect for Diversity
  9. Personal and Global Responsibility
  10. Future Focus and Sustainability

Party qualification[edit]

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 re-qualified the political party with her campaign for governor, but under the 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.[8][9] As of December 4, 2008 there were 31,676 Greens in the state comprising 3.19% of the electorate.[10]

As of November 6, 2012, 37,764 Maine voters were registered in the Maine Green Independent Party, representing 3.83% of the statewide electorate.[11]

As of August 31, 2017, enrollment in the MGIP had increased to 43,996 (4.23%) of Maine voters.[12]

In August 2015, the party decided to open its 2016 primary to unenrolled voters.[13]

Portland Greens[edit]

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.[14][15][16] 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,[17] and from 2004 to 2006, significant media attention was attributed to conflicts between the committee's Greens and Democrats.[18] The Greens successfully passed precedent-setting policy limiting military recruiters' access to city high schools, and were recognized by the National School Board Association.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] Marshall ended up finishing in 4th place of 15 candidates.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] On November 5, the Greens' legalization ordinance passed with 67% of the vote.[26]

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.[27] 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.

In 2017, School Board member and YouTube vlogger Holly Seeliger was criticized for giving credence to conspiracy theories including Pizzagate and the Murder of Seth Rich.[28][29]

2010, 2014 and 2018 gubernatorial elections[edit]

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.[30] 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[31] 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.[32] 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,[33] the 2016 Green candidate for Maine's 2nd congressional district, and activist Betsy Marsano of Waldo.[34] Both withdrew before the 2018 primary, leaving the Green Independents without a candidate for the third straight gubernatorial election.

2020 elections[edit]

Following Maine's enactment of Ranked Choice Voting for elections, the spoiler effect was eliminated as a barrier for third parties.

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.[35] Her record-breaking vote share was credited partly to the state's ranked-choice voting system for statewide elections, first implemented in 2018.[35] 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.[36] This marked 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.[36]

Election results[edit]


Year Nominee Votes
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%)
2010 None NA
2014 None NA
2018 None NA
2022 None NA

Presidential nominee results[edit]

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.

Year Nominee 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%)


  1. ^ "Voter Registration Data, Election Data and Online Forms". Maine Secretary of State. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Officeholders".
  3. ^ Rensenbrink, John. The Greens and the Politics of Transformation, 1992, R & E Miles
  4. ^ "The Ellsworth American - Offline". Archived from the original on June 19, 2007. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Cousins, Christopher. "Lawmaker's party switch gives Greens a seat in the Maine House". Bangor, Maine: Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on September 23, 2017. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  6. ^ Pfeifle, Sam. "Rep. Chapman joins Maine Green Independents". Washington, DC: Green Party of the US. Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Administrator. "Second state representative enrolls Green Independent". Retrieved November 28, 2017.
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  15. ^ "General Election, November 2, 2004 - Tabulations - State Representative (Secretary of State, State of Maine, U.S.A.)". November 2, 2004. Archived from the original on March 20, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  16. ^ "Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions, Elections Division". November 7, 2006. Archived from the original on March 18, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  17. ^ [2] Archived June 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Green Pages ||". Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "School boards are refining policies on military recruiters on campus". September 28, 2007. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007.
  20. ^ "Too Green to Lead?". The Bollard. January 10, 2010. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  21. ^ "Take this to the polls". Portland Phoenix. June 3, 2010. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012.
  22. ^ Singer, Jason (October 31, 2011). "The Race for Mayor: Strimling gets endorsement from fellow candidate Eder - Portland Press Herald". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  23. ^ King, Ed. "MayorWatch2011". The West End News. Archived from the original on February 12, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  24. ^ Russell, Eric (March 5, 2013). "Greens seek to legalize pot in Portland". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  25. ^ Koenig, Seth (July 15, 2013). "Portland voters to decide whether to legalize pot; proponents say there is a 'racial component'". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  26. ^ Koenig, Seth (November 5, 2013). "Portland voters strongly endorse pot legalization". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  27. ^ Billings, Randy (October 15, 2015). "Portland mayoral race: Tom MacMillan believes in social justice, bold approaches". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  28. ^ Kesich, Greg (June 7, 2017). "Greg Kesich: For Portland residents, a source of real fake news right in our backyard". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  29. ^ Schroeder, Nick (June 13, 2017). "How Fake Is This? — Three Theories on Holly Seeliger's 'Zoon Politikon'". Portland Phoenix. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  30. ^ "Maine Green party chairwoman to run for governor - Bangor Daily News". Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  31. ^ "Welcome to the Public Campaign Finance Page for the State of Maine". January 20, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Master of Arts in Global Policy student, David Slagger, Runs for Governor of Maine". June 13, 2013. Archived from the original on July 4, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  33. ^ "Campaign Finance". Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  34. ^ "Campaign Finance". Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  35. ^ a b Winger, Richard (December 24, 2020). "Maine Green Party Showing for U.S. Senate Was the Best in Maine History for Any Third Party". Ballot Access News. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  36. ^ a b Winger, Richard (January 3, 2021). "Green Party Almost Elected a State Legislator in Maine in November 2020". Ballot Access News. Retrieved March 16, 2021.

External links[edit]