WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party made several advances in the 2014 general election on November 4, with Green candidates winning 27 seats and ballot lines held for most state Green Parties.
The most closely watched Green races were in Richmond, California, where outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin overcame a $3-million campaign by Chevron to defeat her slate, and New York, where Howie Hawkins challenged incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Continue Reading →
Rob Richie and Dorothy Scheeline of Fairvote have written some interesting analysis of last week’s elections that used instant runoff voting, aka ranked choice voting. Instant runoff voting was used in San Francisco, CA, St. Paul, MN, and Portland, ME; in all three cities, Greens both helped enact IRV and ran in last Tuesday’s elections. For the mayoral elections in Portland and San Francisco, Fairvote has graphs that show the breakdown of votes round by round until someone takes a majority (in Portland, Greens David Marshall and John Eder finished 4th and 12th of 15; in SF, Green Terry Baum finished 11th of 16). In a Huffington Post article, Richie and Scheeline focus on the story of IRV’s success in Portland:
Repeatedly, we are seeing RCV winners being the candidates who do a particularly effective job at reaching out to voters, often with direct contact involving community debates, local events, and door-knocking. One Portland candidate, David Marshall, said he knocked on 20,000 doors. He didn’t win, but it was ballots from his supporters that provided a particularly strong boost to the new mayor’s win total.
On November 8, Portland Maine will hold an election for the first popularly elected Mayor in over 80 years. Furthermore, voters will get to rank the candidates as the election will be using Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which will be very interesting given that there are 14 candidates on the ballot.
One of those candidates, John Eder, is a former State Legislator, one of a handful of Greens ever elected to State Legislative office in the U.S. Eder, however, did not get the endorsement of the Maine Green Independent Party (MGIP), which has instead endorsed sitting City Councilor David Marshall, also a Green:
“Let there be no mistake about it, David Marshall is the Green choice for Portland’s mayor,” states Nate Shea, MGIP Chair. “His leadership on sustainable transportation, green development, and the creative economy places him among the strongest elected Greens in the nation.”
The Green Independent Party endorses Marshall because of his vision to create a modern streetcar line in Portland, to convert homes and businesses off of oil to cleaner fuels, and to grow the population density to create a more sustainable city as well as his longstanding commitment to helping constituents cut through city bureaucracy. For these reasons, the Green Independent Party strongly urges its members to rank David Marshall as their first choice for Mayor.
The endorsement comes as somewhat of a surprise because of Eder’s background. Eder helped mentor City Councilor David Marshall, the other Green Independent Party candidate running for mayor.
But Eder said Marshall is already on the City Council and “doing great work,” and the city needs fresh leadership. He said with Marshall still there, and Strimling as mayor and Eder advocating from the outside, “we’re going to make a great team for this city.”
There are two more Greens running in Portland on November 8. Josephine Okot is running for Portland School Board, and Jack Safarik is running for Portland Water Board.
In Portland, Maine’s largest city, the city’s first mayoral election in decades features two candidates from the Green Independent Party: former State House member John Eder and City Councilor David Marshall. Both have been featured recently in the Portland Press Herald.
In his interview, Eder said that affordable housing would be the central issue in his administration:
“We’re on the verge of the creative economy toppling the artists and workers who helped make Portland become what it is,” he said. “We can’t lose those people.”
Marshall’s five-point platform includes investing in the city’s school facilities, converting homes and businesses from oil to alternative fuels, and creating a streetcar line.
Those programs would cost a significant amount up front, as some opponents have pointed out. Marshall calls them “investments.” He points to a record of saving the city money.
The election will be conducted using instant runoff voting, which Green Anna Trevorrow played a key role in enacting as a member of Portland’s charter commission. Ben Chipman, an independent State House member who is closely aligned with the Greens, is also quoted in the article about Marshall.
Portland this year embarks on an elected-mayor campaign that replaces a council-appointed mayor with one elected to an at-large seat. Through a city charter change, voters also will choose their next mayor through rank choice voting, where if any candidate falls short of a majority, then the “second choice” votes come into play in the tabulation.
MacMillan is working on the mayoral campaign for Portland’s David Marshall, an incumbent city councilor and Green Party member seeking the elected-mayor office. Another Maine Green Party member, former state legislator John Eder of Portland, announced in February his candidacy for the Mayor of Portland.
Green Party members said rank choice allows people to vote their conscience instead of feeling they’re casting a vote on a potential “spoiler” who could drain votes away from one of the two major parties.
Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, has a piece on Counterpunch called When Green Matters. It focuses on the relative success of Green Party candidate Fred Horch in Maine and the past success of John Eder in Maine and why we should pay attention. Please read it all, but I have to reprint the conclusion:
Horch and Eder are examples of backyard Greens, whose influence spreads virally through human contact and experience and not through the mass media. It’s the way every great drive for social change has worked in America – the abolitionists, the populists, the early socialists, and the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, too many Green leaders have read too much Marx and not enough American history.
The big parties gave up human relationships long ago. Which is why we have such a hard time relating to them. But you can’t text your way to the presidency, you can’t Facebook a revolution and you can’t save the planet with Twitter. At some point real people have to join with, talk to, and help other real people.
Which is why a Green small business owner in Brunswick did so well and why so many others could learn something from the story.
Despite having a number of promising campaigns for state legislature in various states, Greens fell short of victory in every race – a few by painfully close margins. However, one former Green running for state legislature as an independent in Maine did win.
In Maine, Fred Horch of Brunswick finished with 34% in District 66, just 4 points (or 200 votes) behind the victorious Democrat. Anna Trevorrow finished 2nd with 31% in District 120, and Seth Berner finished 2nd with 28% in District 115.
In Massachusetts, Mark Miller of Pittsfield finished with 45% in a 2-way race in the 3rd Berkshire District.
In Wisconsin, Ben Manski finished with 31% behind Democrat Brett Hulsey, who had 49%. While Manski did better among voters who designated a candidate in the race, straight-ticket Democratic votes gave Hulsey the edge.
In Illinois, Jeremy Karpen finished with 35% to 65% for Democratic incumbent Toni Berrios.
In Pennsylvania, Hugh Giordano finished with 18% in a 3-way race.
In Maine, independent Ben Chipman won House District 119 with 54% of the vote. Chipman previously worked as an aide to John Eder, who became the second US Green to be elected to a state legislature in 2002. Chipman has also run on the Green Party line in previous campaigns. While not technically elected on the Green Party line, Chipman will no doubt be a voice for Green values in the Maine State House.
AUGUSTA- On Monday, March 15th, the Green Independent Party of Maine turned in signatures to qualify 18 legislative candidates throughout the state, the second highest total in 12 years of holding official ballot status.
“We made legislative recruitment a top priority this year. With sweeping changes in electoral reform that came out of Augusta last year, we no longer need the governor’s race to keep party status. We turned our resources toward legislative seats, where we have better opportunity for success,” said Anna Trevorrow, Chair of the state Green Independent Party.
The party has nearly doubled its number of qualified candidates from 2008, and has expanded its geographic outreach. The Greens have qualified 15 candidates for State House and 3 for State Senate.
“This year we are running a great slate of candidates from York to Hancock County and some of them have excellent chances to win, running in open seats where the incumbent is term-limited,” said Ben Chipman, Candidate Coordinator for the state party and former Legislative Aide for John Eder, a Green who served in the State House from 2002-2006. Continue Reading →
DownEast.com carries an outstanding and detailed report on the history of the Portland Maine chapter of that state’s Green Independent Party. Jeff Clark, the article’s writer, interviewed several Portland Greens, and offers up a number of quotes.
Much of the thrust of what these Greens have to say can be summed up in these phrases: Go for youth, go for the non-voter, stand by your issues, and the Democrats are not our friends. Here are a couple of quotes to whet your appetite:
But these days the Greens are widely acknowledged as the city’s new second party, displacing the GOP in both votes and political offices and shaking the complacency out of the Democratic power structure.
“One of the first pieces of advice I got was to cut out all voters between eighteen and thirty-five years old, as well as anyone who hadn’t voted in the last presidential election,” Eder recalls. “I said no. Those young voters were my crowd. What I found was that it’s easy for any group of voters to become apathetic if they’re not invited to participate. Appealing to younger voters and going door to door were the keys to my success in Portland.”
Maine’s Greens have largely moved past the disgruntled Democrats who were the majority of early members. “There’s a generational change going on,” she says. “People are feeling they are Greens because of what we stand for, not because they’re sick of the Democrats.”