Post Election Analysis: Green Party House of Representatives
November 11, 2010 in Congressional Campaigns
53 Green Party candidates appeared on the ballot this November, one more in Washington was on the ballot in the Primary, and 4 more ran write-in campaigns. Of the 54 ballot candidates, results ranged from 0.16% to 8.32%, from 157 votes to 17,545 votes. The average percentage of the vote of all 54 races was 2.21% from 225,000 votes.
This is a decline from 2008, when the Green Party’s 59 US House of Representatives brought in over 500,000 votes, averaging 3.47% of the total vote. 2008 was unique in that the Arkansas Green Party had three candidates for three House seats that were unopposed by one of the corporate parties, resulting in finishing with 64,000 votes (23.33%), 58,000 votes (21.52%) and 31,000 votes (13.76%). There were some other very strong finishes in 2008 by Carol Wolman in California, Titus North in Pennsylvania, and Jason Wallace in Illinois.
In fact the 2010 results more closely resemble 2006, another mid-term election, when the Green Party fielded 43 candidates, netted 253,000 votes, averaging 2.74%.
One of the better finishes in 2010 came in California from Ben Emery, who finished with 17,545 votes (7.25%). Emery raised over $10,000 in individual contributions and ran hundreds of commercials on television. With a fraction of the budget of his Democratic and Republican opponents Emery worked it to get the 17,000 votes that he finished with.
The other four stronger finishes were in Illinois, where the 11 Greens running for the US House averaged two points better (4.31%) than other Greens running for the House (2.21%), and slightly better than they did in 2008 (4.00%). Robert Burns running in Illinois’ 4th Congressional District made up of two slithering slices of Chicago’s western suburbs, finished with 6,656 votes, 8.32% of the vote in a lower turnout district. This result turned out to be the highest percentage of any Green running for US House in 2010. Congrats, Robert! Another good finish was in the neighboring 3rd Congressional District where Laurel Lambert Schmidt finished with 9,864 votes (6.03%). Both Schmidt and Burns were first time candidates who improved the Green Party’s results in suburban Chicago districts.
Sheldon Schafer in his second run for US House in the larger Western Illinois 18th Congressional District improved both his vote totals and percentage of the vote from 2008, finishing with 11,244 votes (5.09%) compared to 9,725 (3.17%) in 2008.
But special props go to Bill Scheurer, a first time candidate running in the 8th Congressional District. Although his results weren’t outstanding (6,449 votes, 3.31% of the vote), Bill wins the honorable “Nader Award” (something we just made up), given out to any candidate that can inspire the media to accuse them of “spoiling” a race. Here is Eric Zorn in his own words:
The way I look at the numbers, the only thing the Green Party may have accomplished in the 2010 elections in Illinois is to help a tea-party-backed candidate win a seat in Congress. Other than that, nothing.
Bill Scheurer, seems to have drawn enough votes — about 6,500 — to hand a victory to tea party Republican Joe Walsh in the northwest suburban 8th District.
In fairness to the author, at least he sought and printed a reaction from Illinois Green Party chair Phil Huckelberry, who said: “Everyone in the party I’ve talked to can’t stand Melissa Bean and would never vote for her,” said Illinois Green Party chairman Phil Huckleberry when I asked him about this. “Any argument that says otherwise is silly.”
To view a Google Docs Spreadsheet of Green Party US House of Representatives Candidates and their election results click here. Note it also includes results from 2008 and 2006 but no further back than that.