The Illinois Green Party successfully gathered enough signatures for the following four candidates on the Presidential Primary Election in February.
It was Gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney ‘s 2006 run that achieved statewide party status and significantly eased ballot access requirements for the state’s new but quickly growing party. This opportunity (and challenge) to place candidates on the state’s primary ballot is a symbol of success, both for the state’s party but for all the Greens. Being on the primary ballot will boost the visibility of the party in the state, itself the goal of many of the candidates.
During an interview at the Annual State meeting, Whitney said that meeting the two candidates who managed to make it there made a difference for him. Californian Kent Mesplay and Washington, D.C. Jared Ball had committed their campaign pocket book to demonstrate the importance of introducing themselves to the state’s party representatives. Showing up seemed to have made a difference in the case of the Illinois petition drive as signatures were not collected for other grassroots candidates.
Three grassroots candidates who were placed on the California primary ballot but did not make it onto the Illinois ballot were:
- Texas activist Kat Swift
- Georgia’s Elaine Brown and
- West Virginia’s Jesse Johnson, who is also considering a gubernatorial run.
Neither Howie Hawkins who is a stand-in for Ralph Nader, nor Cynthia McKinney made it to the Illinois State meeting; however their international notoriety was enough to garner the support of petitioners who collected signatures on their behalves. McKinney was in Chicago at the time and did meet with party leaders to discuss a strategy for accruing signatures, which apparently went well.