On the heels of “WhiteyGate”, Rich Whitney shut out of Chicago debates

From Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney:

Just days after Rich Whitney’s name was found to be misspelled on voting machine throughout Chicago, the Green Party candidate for governor is now finding himself locked out of three Chicago debates, including one going on tonight at Elmhurst College, 8 p.m..

Tonight’s debate, along with the League of Women Voters on Oct 20 and WTTW Channel 11 on Oct 28 debates, are set to include only Brady and Quinn, leaving out the only other established party candidate, Rich Whitney, despite heavy lobbying from Green Party representatives and supporters.

The debate exclusions come after a very successful debate among the three established party candidates in Southern Illinois — including Whitney — in Carbondale, far outside the Chicago political monopoly.

“Whitney won hands down,” wrote David Ormsby in a piece for examiner.com.

“Whitney… seemed to be [the] only one of the three to seize the gravity of the state budget mess,” wrote Chuck Sudo for chicagoist.com.

Similar comments were expressed by Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn after a five-way gubernatorial forum discussion held before the paper’s editorial board .

“Rich Whitney was the best spoken, had the best command of the facts and, in my opinion, had the most sensible ideas for moving Illinois forward,” wrote Zorn on October 1.

“Clearly Rich Whitney belongs in these debates, but debate organizers continue to stonewall us. This is clearly the result of pressure by the Democrats,” said Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the Illinois Green Party. Continue Reading


Monday Morning Green Party News

Monday morning round up of Green Party news around the nation

Rich Whitney, “Green Party candidate shines in debate” (KMOX):

“Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, and State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) used nearly every answer to bash the other. But Green Party candidate Rich Whitney laid off the criticism, and used every answer to point out in some detail how he would close the budget gap, improve the job climate, and fund education. He said, “I’m the only one with a plan.”

Too bad the other debates are excluding him. Maybe they are afraid he will continue talking common sense?

The Post Standard is looking forward to Howie Hawkins in tonight’s debate as evidenced by this thorough profile piece:

He hasn’t won, yet. But he has accomplished another goal — to bring the Green Party into the same conversation the Democrats and Republicans are having about how to govern New York state. Hawkins, a graveyard-shift United Parcel Service worker from Syracuse’s South Side, is the Green Party candidate for governor. He has been invited to debate Democrat Andrew Cuomo, Republican Carl Paladino and four other candidates at 7 p.m. today in the only scheduled debate of the 2010 race.

The Middletown Press has a nice piece today on the Green Party, with coverage of Green congressional candidates Ken Krayeske, G. Scott Deshefy, & Charles Pillsbury, as well as Mike DeRosa (Sec. State candidate), David Bue (State Treasurer candidate), Steve Fournier (Attorney General candidate), & Colin Bennett (State Comptroller):

“People don’t know who to turn to anymore and with good reason,” Deshefy says. “I say to those disillusioned, those disgruntled, those disenfranchised citizens betrayed by the Republicans and Democrats time and time again, turn to me and to the Green Party to carry your burden. Otherwise, we are in for more of the same after November 2010.”

Cleveland City Councilor Brian Cummins has quit the Democrats and become a Green again. He is a former Columbus area Green Party organizer. He will face re-election in 3 years, I can assure you he will face a Democratic challenger.

And finally, a poignant book discussion with US Senate candidate John Gray:


Rich Whitney Wins 1st Debate; Needs Your Help to Get Into Next 2

Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney debated Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn and Republican Bill Brady last night at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. While Quinn and Brady bickered and spoke in vague generalities, Whitney stood out as the only candidate with a plan to fix the budget and ensure that all Illinoisans have access to quality jobs, education and health care. Over the course of the debate, Whitney made strong cases for single-payer health care, progressive taxation, a green capital bill, tuition-free higher education, a state bank, and more.

Watch the debate online at WSIU or listen at WBEZ.

Although Rich Whitney earned over 10% of the vote in 2006, establishing the Green Party as a major party in Illinois, sponsors of two upcoming debates are trying to keep him out. The recently redesigned Illinois Green Party website has a page telling Whitney supporters how they can join the grassroots campaign to get Whitney in the debates. On facebook, the campaign has started a rapidly-growing page “Do the Right Thing: Put Rich Whitney in the Debates”. You can easily write a letter to the editor supporting Whitney’s inclusion in the debates at Green Change.

Whitney is also asking supporters to watch and share a video message calling on the debates to include his voice. His campaign needs donations to put the video on TV – please donate what you can so that one of the Green Party’s most outstanding candidates can reach millions of undecided voters. Whitney needs 5% of the vote to keep the Illinois Green Party, which is running dozens of strong candidates this year, on the ballot. You can watch the video “A Message to Illinois Voters from Rich Whitney” here:


Green Party candidates win some debates, battle exclusion from others

Green Party candidates across the US win some debates, battle exclusion from others

• In Illinois race for the US Senate, Green candidate LeAlan Jones wins a debate from which he was excluded: SC Green Tom Clements challenges Sen. Jim DeMint’s refusal to debate; Calif. Green Laura Wells arrested for entering the gubernatorial debate site

• Video downloads and campaign news:
Green candidates in debates http://www.gp.org/candidates/debates.php
Greens on the campaign trail http://www.gp.org/elections/campaign-trail/index.php
Labor endorsements for Greens http://www.gp.org/candidates/labor-endorsements.php
More candidate videos: http://www.gp.org/candidates/videos.php

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party candidates across the US are shining in some debates — and protesting their exclusion from other debates. Continue Reading


Green Party Candidate Rich Whitey???

Chicago Politics have never been considered “clean”, in fact Chicago is the poster child for “dirty politics”, tricks and schemes to affect the vote.

It was discovered earlier this week that on electronic voting machines throughout Chicago, the Green Party candidate for Governor’s name was misspelled. While “mistakes happen”, in this case it was misspelled RICH WHITEY. Although voters in Chicago will likely cast thousands of votes for ‘rich whiteys’, there is little doubt (in my mind) that this misspelling was an intentional effort to suppress votes for the Green Party candidate Rich Whitney in the single largest voting block in Illinois – Chicago.

Phil Huckelberry, Co-chair of the Green Party of Illinois will be at a press conference later today with the State Election Board to field questions regarding this “mistake”. The Press Release from the GPIL is below.
Continue Reading


Help get Rich Whitney, Green for IL Governor, into the Debates

Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is asking supporters to take action to get him into two debates that debate sponsors are threatening to exclude him from. Whitney received over 10% of the vote for governor in 2006, establishing the Green Party as a major party in Illinois. He is an excellent, well-spoken candidate with a comprehensive platform to fix the Illinois budget and ensure that everyone in Illinois has access to quality jobs, education, and healthcare.

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn wrote that Whitney has “the best command of the facts” and “the most sensible ideas for moving Illinois forward”, and Illinois Issues columnist Charles Wheeler wrote “only one candidate for governor has a comprehensive plan to solve the state’s budget crisis, one in which the numbers actually work: the Green Party’s Rich Whitney.” However, the Illinois League of Women Voters and PBS station WTTW are trying to exclude Whitney from upcoming debates. Whitney, who does not accept corporate campaign money, can’t afford to blanket the airwaves with ads. Locking him out of the debates would stymie his best opportunity to reach Illinois voters who haven’t yet heard of Whitney or his ideas.

The Illinois Green Party needs to get 5% of the vote for governor to retain ballot status. Since Whitney’s strong 2006 performance qualified the IL Greens as a major party, they’ve run scores of candidates at all levels. This year almost 50 Greens are running, mostly at the state legislature and local levels. Candidates like Jeremy Karpen have strong chances of winning and bringing independent progressive voices to Illinois politics. In a state with a Republican ex-governor in jail and a Democratic ex-governor on trial, voters want more choices, and the Greens are providing a progressive alternative. Yet if Whitney is pushed out of the debates and gets less than 5%, the Illinois Green Party will be dealt a major setback.

Take action today to ensure that Rich Whitney is included in the Illinois gubernatorial debates. Here’s a message from Whitney’s campaign explaining how you can make a difference:

Help Get Rich Whitney Into the Debates!

Rich Whitney will participate in a debate at Southern Illinois University on Thursday, October 14, at 8 PM, joined by Republican candidate Bill Brady and Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn. This event marks the only debate that will include candidates from all three of the legally established parties in Illinois.  We invite you to tune in to listen and watch the debate at 8 PM.  The event will be broadcast on most PBS stations and several NPR affiliates.

The League of Women Voters of Illinois is hosting a gubernatorial debate, to be televised on WLS (ABC 7) on Wednesday, October 20th. WTTW (PBS 11) is hosting a gubernatorial forum on their news program Chicago Tonight on Thursday, October 28th. As of now, only Pat Quinn and Bill Brady have been invited to take part in these debates, in spite of the fact that the Illinois Green Party is a legally established political party and that Whitney garnered over 360,000 votes in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

The debate sponsors need to DO THE RIGHT THING and include Rich Whitney in these debates!


• In 2006, Rich Whitney received over 360,000 votes in 2006 – more than 10% of the vote.

• The Green Party is one of three major parties under Illinois law – just like the Democrats and Republicans.

Here’s How You Can Help!

1.) For the League of Women Voters of  Illinois:

Call them at 312-939-5935 and ask them to DO THE RIGHT THING!

Or Email LWVIL President Nancy Marcus – president@lwvil.org and Executive Director Jan Czarnik – execdirector@lwvil.org.

When you email or call, be sure to tell them your name, and what city and/or neighborhood you live in.

2.) For WTTW Channel 11:

Call their main switchboard at 773-583-5000. Say that you want to leave a message that WTTW needs to DO THE RIGHT THING and invite Rich Whitney and other Green Party candidates to their Chicago Tonight forums.

Make sure to leave your name and city/neighborhood as WTTW will be logging who has called and left messages.

You can also email them with the same message at chicagotonight@wttw.com.

3.) Please help us spread the word by sharing Rich’s new YouTube ad on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail lists, and beyond!


Don’t let anyone believe that they’re forced to choose between Quinn and Brady. They have a real choice – a candidate with real plans and real support. Let people everywhere know they can vote for Rich Whitney – and that people are trying to keep them from knowing!


Green Party Candidates for Governor 2010

13 Green Party candidates are on the ballot in 2010 for State Governor, from New England to California and everywhere in between. Rich Whitney had a record setting campaign four years ago when he took 11% of the vote (the highest percent of any Green Party campaign for Governor) on 325,000 votes (second highest vote total ever for a Green Party candidate, Peter Camejo won 393,000 in California in 2002). Jill Stein ran for Governor in 2002 and won 76,000 votes for 3.5%. Howie Hawkins is no stranger to statewide campaigning, he won 55,000 votes in New York running for US Senate in 2006.

2010 Candidates for Governor are an experienced group of campaigners and public speakers who are bringing a Green alternative before the voters in 13 states. Laura Wells, Farheen Hakeem, & Jim Lendall are no strangers to either Greens or the campaign trail. If you can support their campaigns in any way please contact their campaigns or donate on their websites.

Jill Stein, Massachusetts – Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports, In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009. The first of these has been translated into four languages and is used worldwide. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.

Howie Hawkins, New York – Howie Hawkins has been an organizer in movements for peace, justice, labor, the environment, and independent politics since the late 1960s. He was a co-founder of the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance in 1976 and the Green Party in the US in 1984. For the last decade Howie has worked unloading trucks at UPS, where he is a member of Teamsters Local 317 and active in Teamsters for a Democratic Union, US Labor Against the War, and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare.

Maria Allwine, Maryland – Maria Allwine is a long-time community organizer and peace and justice activist. She has participated and been arrested in many nonviolent direct actions against the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, was Co-Chair of the Maryland Green Party and is a member of various Baltimore City activist groups. In 2006 she ran against State Senator Joan Carter Conway and received 11% of the vote and in 2007 ran for Baltimore City Council President against Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, received 17% of the vote.

Morgan Reeves, South Carolina – Reeves played college football at Michigan State, then in the NFL with Detroit Lions and Baltimore Colts. In business, Reeves established and managed a land-clearing company. He’s also been involved in various community service projects, and has served as a pastor at six churches.

Howard Switzer, Tennessee – Howard Switzer describes himself best: “I am a hippy, proud because we hippies have been right on every issue for the last 40 years. We were right about Nixon, Racism, Vietnam, consumerism, nuclear power, environmental pollution, organic food, natural birth, green renewable and appropriate technology …and we are right about the corporate control of our national institutions. My goal is not to overthrow the system but to make it irrelevant by reviving democracy, by making sure that every organization, our church, school, or government is run according to its principles.”

Dennis Spisak, Ohio – Dennis Spisak is a two term elected member of the Struthers Board of Education and past candidate for US House of Representatives (2008) when he got 4.82% of the vote. Spisak and the Libertarian candidate have both been banned from the Gubernatorial debates in Ohio.

Harley Mikkelson, Michigan – Mikkelson was a Green Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and 2004 and the Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2008. He is a Vietnam Veteran, a retired state employee and union man. He has been in the Peace Movement since becoming active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War in 1968.

Rich Whitney, Illinois – Rich Whitney is a 55-year-old civil rights and employment lawyer from Carbondale. As a lawyer, he has fought for working people who have lost their jobs or had their rights violated. A founder of the Illinois Green Party, he has long been politically active in support of the labor, health-care reform, environmental, civil rights, and peace movements. In 2006, he served as the Green Party’s first candidate for Governor, winning over 360,000 votes and making it possible for Illinois voters to have a third choice on the ballot statewide.

Farheen Hakeem, Minnesota – Farheen was born and raised on the north side of Chicago, with her two brothers from immigrant parents. Her parents were small business owners. She moved to Minneapolis in 1999 and was active in the peace movement and as a community organizer and educator. She has led several high profile campaigns for office. In 2005 she ran for Mayor and earned 14% of the vote. The following year she ran for County Commissioner and won 33% of the vote. In 2008 she ran for an open seat in the State Legislature and finished with 30% of the vote.

Jim Lendall, Arkansas – In his own words: “I served in the Arkansas Legislature for eight years, introducing innovative legislation and speaking out for those with no other voice. I fought against corporate welfare and the corporate assault on working people and the environment. I will bring that same commitment to the office of Governor of Arkansas…”

Deb Shafto, Texas – Deb Shafto is a retired teacher and former union organizer. She is a passionate environmentalist, and is concerned about the expanding wealth divide in America.

David Scott Curtis, Nevada – I am going to refer directly to this fascinating and insightful article from Las Vegas City Life, excerpting just the first paragraph to get you to read the entire thing: “he aspiring governor lounges inside a coffee shop in downtown Las Vegas, drinking juice from a bottle and explaining how his education plan will revive the state’s failing schools. He doesn’t have a bound report, or even an acronym — just a few observations from a product of the system.”

Laura Wells, California – Laura Wells ran for State Controller in 2002 and won 419,873 votes, 5.8% of the total. She ran for the same seat in 2006 and won 260,047 votes, 3.2% of the total. She has lived in California for 30 years and has been active with the California Green Party for at least 8 years. She has been excluded from the California Gubernatorial debates and was reportedly arrested at the most recent one while attempting to enter with a ticket.


Green for Greens: Rich Whitney for Governor of Illinois

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.


The League of Women Voters and the debate issue

Fighting to be included in debates is a familiar exercise for Greens in the United States. Most political organizations fall into one of two camps: either they support open debates with all ballot-qualified candidates, or they support closed debates, which are typically limited to Democrats and Republicans. However, the League of Women Voters, in various times and places, has played the role of both ally and adversary to supporters of open debates.

The League of Women Voters ran presidential debates until 1988, when the Democratic and Republican parties, unhappy with the LWV’s inclusion of independent candidates like John Anderson, formed the Commission on Presidential Debates to seize control of the debates. The LWV issued a statement to announce its withdrawal of sponsorship for the debates:

The League of Women Voters is withdrawing sponsorship of the presidential debates … because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.

However, this year the League of Women Voters in Illinois has invited only the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor to an October 20th televised debate, despite the fact that Green Party candidate Rich Whitney received over 10% of the vote for governor 4 years ago. Whitney has called a press conference for Monday October 11th to demand that the LWV include him. Whitney’s campaign has also created the facebook group “Let Rich Whitney into the League of Women Voters Debate” and this video message from Rich Whitney to Illinois voters, which the campaign will release as a TV ad if it can raise enough money:

Whitney will take part in a debate with independent Scott Lee Cohen and Libertarian Lex Green on WJBC on Monday 11 October from 3-4:30PM. Democrat Quinn and Republican Brady declined to participate.

In Connecticut, Green Party Attorney General candidate Steve Fournier has filed a complaint with the IRS challenging the LWV’s tax-exempt status. Fournier says that while the League is supposed to be nonpartisan, its criteria for debate participation discriminate against independent and third-party candidates.

In Maryland, a post at the Baltimore Sun’s Maryland Politics blog entitled “Third-party gov candidates demand to be in debate” drew this comment:

The gubernatorial debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters is the “real” debate to attend. It’s Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7:30 pm, in the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College’s Takoma Park campus, 7995 Georgia Avenue. For more information, see http://lwvmd.org/n/node/3261 or call 301-984-9585. Unlike WJZ-TV and the Baltimore Jewish Council, the LWV serves only the voters, and all of them. Third Party candidates have to work hard and overcome many electoral hurdles to get on the ballot; they deserve to be heard.

Maryland Green Party gubernatorial candidate Maria Allwine also commented on the post.

Is the League of Women Voters in your state a friend or foe of open debates? Can Greens call on the League’s better angels to ensure that our voices are included in the debates? What do you think?


Weekend Round Up: Whitney, Roberts, Stein, Manski, Jones, & More

“Mayor of DC Hip-Hop” Head-Roc & Empower DC are launching a Concert Tour leading up to the DC General Election (Oct 19 – Nov 1). The purpose of the concert series is to encourage DC residents to vote AND to join an organization. Head Roc was a Presidential Candidate seeking the Green Party nomination in 2008 before withdrawing and endorsing Cynthia McKinney.

LeAlan Jones, Illinois Green Party candidate for US Senate participated in the Chicago Tribune debate (Video).

Ben Manski, Wisconsin Green Party candidate for the 77th State Assembly District in Madison, WI, was endorsed by the current (Democratic) Secretary of State Doug LaFollette, former (Democratic) Gubernatorial candidate and Fighting Bobfest organizer Ed Garvey, and former State Attorney General (Democrat) Peg Lautenschlager. Manski released this commercial now running on local cable:

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts goes after Governor Patrick over his rosy view of the economy, saying

“What we’re seeing are oscillations of an economy that is fundamentally sick. Since 2002, two-thirds of the income growth in this country has gone into the pockets of the wealthiest 1%, and the rest of us have been falling behind. That’s why economists have had to invent the term ‘jobless recovery’. It’s a recovery that is scarcely visible in the lives of the 300,000 unemployed people in Massachusetts and the equal number of people who are underemployed and forced to work part-time.”

Green Party candidate for US Senate in California Duane Roberts calls for ending overseas wars to pay for tuition free higher education.

Illinois Green Party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney will be holding a press conference Monday October 11, 10 AM regarding debate exclusion. Check him out on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight (Video).