A short history of Green Party U.S. Senate races

October 9, 2008 in Congressional Campaigns

In 1992, Linda Martin and Mary Jordan became the first Green Party candidates for U.S. Senate.

Mary Jordan ran for U.S. Senate in Alaska, receiving over 20,000 votes, 8.37% of the total vote in a three way race against the infamous Frank Murkowski. Linda MartinLinda Martin ran for U.S. Senate in Hawai’i against an entrenched Democratic Party in 1992 against Daniel Inouye, who had been in the Senate since 1962, and who handedly defeated his opponents winning over 70% of the vote in every re-election – that is until 1992. Linda Martin earned 49,921 votes, 13.73%, holding Inouye to 57.3%, while the Republican picked up 26.9%. Her race changed Hawai’i politics, and Green Party politics, setting records for both total votes and percent of votes by a Green in a partisan race. In this video, Mike Feinstein interviews Linda Martin in 2003 about her campaign.

Two years later, Barbara Blong picked up 140,567 votes running for U.S. Senate in California. In the 1990s, Greens ran for U.S. Senate in Alaska (twice), Hawai’i, California, Maine, Oregon (twice), New Mexico, and New York.

In 2000, with the Nader campaign getting big, Greens ran 10 candidates for U.S. Senate, who combined took in 706,538 votes, led by Vance Hansen (Arizona, 108,926, 7.80%), Medea Benjamin (California, 326,828, 3.08%, and Doug Sandage (Texas, 91,448, 1.46%).

In 2002, 9 Green Party candidates ran for U.S. Senate, taking in 143,000 votes, and averaging less than 1% despite the results of Joyce Robinson-Paul, who ran for the non-voting Senate seat from DC against Democrat Paul Strauss and took in 13,966 votes, 11.81%. In 2004, the Green Party ran 8 candidates for U.S. Senate, who combined brought in 154,114 votes, with only one (Teresa Keane, Oregon, 2.35%) breaking 2% of the vote, and as a whole the slate again brought in less than 1%.

The Green Party wasn’t scoring those big hits in the “post-Nader” elections, but in 2006 the Green Party ran 14 candidates for U.S. Senate, the most in any year prior. This netted 394,388 votes between them, almost doubling the results from 2002 and 2004, however the overall percent of the vote climbed to just above 1%. Joyce Robinson-Paul again in DC took 14.30% in a head to head match up for the shadow U.S. Senate seat, while Todd Chretien (California, 147,074, 1.72%), Howie Hawkins (New York, 55,469, 1.18%), Rae Vogeler (Wisconsin, 42,434, 1.98%) and Kevin Zeese (Maryland, 27,564, 1.55%) put up some good numbers.

In 2008, we have seven Green Party candidates running for U.S. Senate, half as many as in 2006, but all are intriguing races that can impact the election. Rebekah Kennedy (Arkansas) gets a rare head-to-head match up against a conservative Democratic incumbent; Steve Larrick (Nebraska) has been a visible opponent since being shut out of early debates and since making it in; Kathleen Cummings (Illinois) is among almost 60 candidates pioneering the new Major Party in Illinois, the Green Party; Bob Kinsey in Colorado; Chris Lugo in Tennessee; Keith Ware in DC; Harley Mikkelson in Michigan;

Can the 2008 slate put up the same numbers as 2006 but with half the candidates? Can they top 2004? Is the Green Party transitioning in election strategy since 2000, and is it working? Where are our former U.S. Senate candidates, and what are they doing now? Will the American voters ever let go of the two party fraud?

The U.S. Senate is one of the toughest races to run in America, and the Green Party has tried it 58 times, without winning it once.

Some Green Party U.S. Senate Trivia:

Top 10 Green Party U.S. Senate races by votes received:
1. Medea Benjamin (California, 2000) 326,828
2. Todd Chretien (California, 2006) 147,074
3. Barbara Blong (California, 1994) 140,567
4. Vance Hansen (Arizona, 2000) 108,926
5. Doug Sandage (Texas, 2000) 91,448
6. Howie Hawkins (New York, 2006) 55,469
7. Linda Martin (Hawai’i, 1992) 49,921
8. Rae Vogeler (Wisconsin, 2006) 42,434
9. Mark Dunau (New York, 2000) 40,991
10. Teresa Keane (Oregon, 2004) 39,634

Top Ten Green Party U.S. Senate races by percent of vote:
1. Joyce Robinson-Paul (DC, 2006) 14.30%
2. Linda Martin (Hawai’i, 1992) 13.73%
3. Jed Whittaker (Akaska, 1996) 12.58%
4. Joyce Robinson-Paul (DC, 2002) 11.81%
5. Mary Jordan (Alaska, 1992) 8.37%
6. Vance Hansen (Arizona, 2000) 7.80%
7. Jim Sykes (Akaska, 2002) 7.24%
8. Abraham Guttman (New Mexico, 1996) 4.39%
9. John Rensenbrink (Maine, 1996) 3.86%
10. Jeffrey Gottlieb (Akaska, 1998) 3.21%

Year by Year:
1992 – 2 candidates (69,940, 11.60%)
1994 – 1 candidate (140,567, 1.65%)
1996 – 4 candidates (90,901, 3.31%)
1998 – 3 candidates (43,885, 0.69%)
2000 – 10 candidates (706,538, 1.78%)
2002 – 9 candidates (143,441, 0.92%)
2004 – 8 candidates (154,114, 0.86%)
2006 – 14 candidates (394,388, 1.09%)
2008 – 7 candidates (???, ???)

2 responses to A short history of Green Party U.S. Senate races

  1. Hello from a former Green Party U.S. Senate candidate. In 2004, I ran in Iowa against Senator Charles Grassley, and token democrat Art Small. Since there was no “real” democratic opposition, I garned quite a bit of media, with op-eds published in the Des Moines Register, TV & radio coverage, etc. Also, my campaign rec’d the endorsement of the Iowa City Press-Citizen newspaper (states 3rd largest newspaper). The Press-Citizen is owned by Gannett (USA Today) – plus, Iowa City is the hometown of Art Small, the Democratic candidate for Senate.

    What am I doing now? I am currently living in the DC area, attending the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University – studying primarily campaign management, voter outreach, media, party-building, etc. When I am done, I would like to be able to bring my education to state and local Green Party’s and their candidates, and start winning more elections at the local, city, county, and state level.

  2. Some Green Party U.S. Senate Trivia: (updated with 2008 results)

    Top 14 Green Party U.S. Senate races by votes received:
    1. Medea Benjamin (California, 2000) 326,828
    2. Rebekah Kennedy (Arkansas, 2008) 206,504
    3. Todd Chretien (California, 2006) 147,074
    4. Barbara Blong (California, 1994) 140,567
    5. Kathy Cummings (Illinois, 2008) 115,621
    6. Vance Hansen (Arizona, 2000) 108,926
    7. Doug Sandage (Texas, 2000) 91,448
    8. Howie Hawkins (New York, 2006) 55,469
    9. Linda Martin (Hawai’i, 1992) 49,921
    10. Bob Kinsey (Colorado, 2008) 46,014
    11. Harvey Mikkelson (Michigan, 2008) 44,439
    12. Rae Vogeler (Wisconsin, 2006) 42,434
    13. Mark Dunau (New York, 2000) 40,991
    14. Teresa Keane (Oregon, 2004) 39,634

    Top 11 Green Party U.S. Senate races by percent of vote:
    1. Rebekah Kennedy (Arkansas, 2008) 20.54%
    2. Joyce Robinson-Paul (DC, 2006) 14.30%
    3. Linda Martin (Hawai’i, 1992) 13.73%
    4. Jed Whittaker (Akaska, 1996) 12.58%
    5. Joyce Robinson-Paul (DC, 2002) 11.81%
    5. Mary Jordan (Alaska, 1992) 8.37%
    6. Vance Hansen (Arizona, 2000) 7.80%
    7. Keith Ware’s (D.C, 2008) 7.45%
    8. Jim Sykes (Akaska, 2002) 7.24%
    9. Abraham Guttman (New Mexico, 1996)4.39%
    10. John Rensenbrink (Maine, 1996) 3.86%
    11. Jeffrey Gottlieb (Akaska, 1998) 3.21%

    Year by Year:
    1992 – 2 candidates (69,940, 11.60%)
    1994 – 1 candidate (140,567, 1.65%)
    1996 – 4 candidates (90,901, 3.31%)
    1998 – 3 candidates (43,885, 0.69%)
    2000 – 10 candidates (706,538, 1.78%)
    2002 – 9 candidates (143,441, 0.92%)
    2004 – 8 candidates (154,114, 0.86%)
    2006 – 14 candidates (394,388, 1.09%)
    2008 – 7 candidates (443,518, 2.79%)