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Wednesday, March 12, 2008 01:39 am

Green peace

Will there be a candidate controversy in Chicago?

Untitled Document The Democratic Party may not be the only party facing a contentious nominating convention this summer. Battle lines are being drawn for a possible showdown between Green Party members at their convention, scheduled to take place in Chicago in July. On Super Tuesday, Cynthia McKinney — a former Democratic congresswoman from Georgia who is now running for president as a member of the Green Party — received 56 percent of the popular vote in the Illinois general primary. McKinney, who lost her bid for reelection to Congress in 2006, finished first among the four Greens seeking the party nomination in Arkansas’ primary contest as well. Even though perennial presidential candidate and political pariah Ralph Nader hadn’t yet indicated that he would run, California Greens placed him on the ballot. In the Feb. 5 California primary Nader collected 60 percent of the vote — compared with McKinney’s 25 percent — and 101 delegates to the Green Party convention. Nader officially launched his fifth presidential bid on March 8. A few days later he named San Francisco lawyer Matt Gonzalez as his running mate, but he has stated repeatedly that he wouldn’t be running as a Green. Some Green Party faithful, many of whom live in Illinois, want Nader to run anyway. They have organized the Draft Nader Committee, a group made up of Green Party members who want the longtime consumer advocate to throw his hat in the ring when the party convenes to name a nominee. “Ralph Nader has made it very explicit that he will not be seeking the Green nomination. Many of his supporters in the party are unhappy with the statement, but he was very clear about it,” says national Green Party co-chair and Illinois resident Phil Huckleberry. Last week Nader, who has run for president in every election since 1992 but only once, in 2000, as the Green’s official nominee, reaffirmed that position in a memo to the Draft Nader Committee. “Progressive campaigns with good agendas and issues can run parallel and forward to help strengthen democracy and subordinate corporate power to the sovereignty of the people,” Nader wrote.
“With Nader not seeking the Green nomination, I expect that Cynthia McKinney will win the nomination in Chicago, but it will take a while for that to become semiofficial,” Huckleberry says. Because the Green Party lacks ballot access in most states’ primaries, Huckleberry explains, delegates will be awarded by way of an internal process that will be carried out in April or May. Huckleberry says that as a result McKinney will likely not gain a delegate majority until then.
Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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