Rich Whitney is running for Governor of Illinois with the Green Party for the second time. In 2006, he earned over 10% of the vote, establishing the Green Party as a major party in Illinois and setting the stage for almost 50 candidates to run in 2010, more Green candidates than in any other state. The Illinois Greens are positioned to elect candidates to state government for the first time, in no small part thanks to Whitney’s party-building campaign in 2006. At the same time, Green US Senate candidate LeAlan Jones has made national news with strong poll numbers in a hotly contested race. Yet despite Whitney’s strong showing in 2006, his campaign has struggled to get media attention and get into debates.
In recent polls, Whitney’s numbers have dipped below 5%. Illinois law requires that a party must get at least 5% for governor to stay qualified as a major party. In a year when Green candidates for Senator and state representative are poised to make record gains, it would be a huge setback to the Illinois Green Party if Whitney gets less than 5% and the party loses its spot on the ballot.
Whitney is a well-spoken candidate with an impressive grip of the facts and ideas that have wide appeal across traditional party lines. The major obstacle is lack of money to get his message out. Whitney was polling in double digits in August before the entry of independent Scott Lee Cohen. Cohen, a millionaire pawnbroker who dropped out as the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor after sordid revelations about his past, is spending his own fortune to campaign and appears to be drawing voters dissatisfied with both the Democratic and Republican candidates. Whitney lacks the name recognition to be seen as the alternative to the status quo. To make matters worse, debate organizers like the Illinois League of Women Voters are trying to exclude Whitney from debates, which would deny Whitney his rightfully earned opportunity to make his case.
Rich Whitney has made a video, now on youtube, asking Illinois voters to demand that he be included in debates. Whitney’s campaign needs money to air the video on Illinois TV. Please watch the video, then head to Whitney’s site and donate what you can to help Rich Whitney get in the debates, bring his Green message to millions of people, and maintain ballot access for the successful Illinois Green Party.