Better late than never, we’ve put together the following Top 10 Green Party stories, taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. We have modeled this after our Top 10 Green Party Stories for 2010. We are well aware that there were many other stories we could have included here, feel welcome to include your own in the comments. We sincerely hope that 2012 will have plenty of Green Party to Watch!
March 2011 – German Greens Historic Victory
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was defeated in Baden-Württemberg as support for the Greens surged to a record, putting the anti-nuclear party within reach of leading the state government. The opposition Greens took a record 24.2 percent, while the Social Democrats, which said they’ll rule with the Greens, won 23.1 percent. “There won’t just be a changing of the guard in Baden- Wuerttemberg, there will be a change of politics,” Greens national co-leader Claudia Roth told reporters in Berlin. Winfried Kretschmann was later named the new governor of Baden-Württemberg.
March 2011 – Alex White for Mayor of Rochester, NY
Small business owner Alex White ran a spirited campaign in a special election for Mayor of Rochester, NY, challenging the status quo of local politics. White ran on a “Platform of Hope“, which he says “…grows Rochester through jobs for all, more community involvement, greater transparency, community policing, and a public utility.” Ultimately White finished with 9% of the vote.
Later in the year Alex White ran for City Council, finishing with 11% of the vote.
April 2011 – Ed Shadid wins seat on Oklahoma City Council
After a long and particularly nasty campaign, Ed Shadid survived the negative smear campaign against him and won a seat on the Oklahoma City Council with over 60% of the vote. Shadid, a spinal surgeon, who ran as an Independent candidate for State Assembly last year with the backing of the Green Party, defeated Charles Swinton, a banker, and the PAC “Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum”, which spent over $100,000 in ads opposing Shadid, accusing him of being a socialist who wanted to legalize marijuana. Check out some of the negative attack ads here.
In the May 2 Federal Elections in Canada, Elizabeth May became the first Green Party candidate elected as a Member of Parliament. Preliminary results show that Elizabeth May won the May 2, 2011 election with 48.13% of the vote, defeating Conservative MP Gary Lunn (33.73%) and NDP candidate Edith Loring-Kuhanga (12.28%). Elizabeth May, 56, has been the leader of the Green Party of Canada since 2006, vowing to raise the Green Party’s profile in Canada, particularly in the nationally televised debates. Although she was included in a debate several years ago, this election she was barred from the debate, which she used as a campaign issue in her campaign for MP representing Saanich-Gulf Islands on Vancouver Island.
July 2011 – Annual National Meeting in Alfred NY
The Green Party (US) Annual National Meeting was held in rural Alfred, NY, in conjunction with the biennial GreenFest. Among the speakers were leaders in the campaign to ban hydrofracking (hydraulic fracturing), an environmentally destructive and dangerous technique for accessing gas in the Marcellus Shale beneath Pennsylvania, New York, and other states. Also 2004 Presidential Candidate David Cobb, Philadelphia Sheriff candidate Cheri Honkala, Canadian MP Elizabeth May, and author David Korten addressed the Meeting.
In Massachusetts, Mark Miller ran a strong campaign for a vacancy in the State Legislature, finishing in second place of four candidates, just several hundred votes short of victory. Miller was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Mass Alliance, and the UAW.
In Minnesota, Green Party (US) Steering Committee co-chair Farheen Hakeem ran for an open State Senate seat. Hakeem finished second with 22% to 68% for Democrat Jeff Hayden. Hakeem outpolled a Republican and an independent in the race.
Cheri Honkala announced her candidacy for Sheriff of Philadelphia on February 17, 2011, and ran a high-profile campaign that brought issues to the table that would never had been brought forward otherwise. She got good media, interviewed in Yes! & endorsed by NOW, interviewed on Press TV, the campaign made effective use of Youtube in promoting the campaign. Ultimately, in the 3-way race for sheriff, Cheri Honkala finished 3rd with over 10,000 votes for 6.6%.
November 2011 – Fall Elections
In November’s elections, Greens won local races in California, Colorado, and Connecticut. Tanya Ishikawa was elected to the Federal Heights City Council (Colorado) with 67.5% of the vote. Larry Bragman took first place in his race for City Council, receiving 43.88% of the vote. This will be Bragman’s third term as a Council Member. Additionally, Ryan O’Neil won his first term on the City Council, helping maintain a healthy Green Party presence in the Northern California City.
In other races of interest, Portland City Councilor David Marshall finished with 7.74% in Portland, Maine’s first IRV election for Mayor. In Philadelphia, Cheri Honkala received 6.56% of the vote in her effort to be elected Sheriff of Philadelphia. She ran on a “No Evictions” platform. Brian Rudnick, running for City Council, received 11.8% of the vote. In Syracuse, NY, Howie Hawkins received 48.15% of the vote, narrowly losing to Democrat Khalid Bey. In Toledo, Ohio, Anita Rios finished with 26% of the vote in her campaign for City Council, and in St. Paul, Bee Xiong received 42% in the first round of voting for a City Council seat, not enough to win.
December 2011 – Presidential Candidate field set
The Green Party field of Presidential Candidates fluctuated throughout 2011. Roseanne Barr jumped in and then out, Socialist Stewart Alexander jumped in and then out, but by the end of the year, three candidates are seeking the Green Party Nomination for President. Kent Mesplay (G-CA) was the first to officially declare his candidacy in June. Jill Stein (G-MA) officially entered the race in October. Harley Mikkelson (G-MI) entered the race in November.
Harley Mikkelson is retired from a 26 year career with the Michigan Departments of Community Health, Education, and Human Services. Mikkelson was the Michigan Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and 2004, for the U.S. Senate in 2008, and Governor in 2010.
Kent Mesplay is an air quality inspector in San Diego, California. He sought the Green Party Presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.
Jill Stein is a physician and community health advocate who ran as the Green-Rainbow Party candidate governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010.
The 2012 Green Party Presidential Race will be followed closely right here at Green Party Watch.
December 2011 – 2011 Election Recap
With over 100 candidates across the United States, the Green Party candidates won 22 races, or 21% of the races they were in. The Green Party starts 2012 with 125 elected officeholders, 21 of which are partisan offices. A recap of the 2011 Election by former Green Party (US) Executive Director Brent McMillan.