As part of a nation-wide tour, former Democratic Congresswoman, now Green Party member Cynthia McKinney is making her way through Illinois, receiving the endorsement of one of Illinois Green Party’s most influential members Rich Whitney. Whitney ran for governor of Illinois in 2006. His 10 per cent win gained the Green Party statewide ballot access and a shot at the primary.
Whitney’s endorsement of McKinney may have a lasting effect on the viability of a Nader run on the Green Ballot in that state. Though Mr. Nader has not himself declared, Howie Hawkins is standing in for him on the Illinois ballot. Word is, Mr. Nader intends to announce whether or not he will run by the end of December. However, many Green Party members insist that their next candidate be an actual member of the party and will not issue a pass to the iconic consumer advocate who insists on not being a member of a political party.
Phil Huckleberry, a state coordinator and strategist for the Illinois Greens met with Mr. Nader back in November to encourage him to get some people on the ground in Illinois to demonstrate interest in their vote. This state’s party is serious about its growth and wants the candidates to make the effort to meet Green Party members. However, Mr. Nader has chosen a different path in his effort to reform government, chiefly through his skill as a lawyer. He is bringing lawsuits to states that have posted “unreasonable” ballot access laws. Lawsuits take time and money.
It does seems that McKinney gets that Illinois wants her feet on their turf, because she is stomping around the state and is no doubt getting these Greens to “Partay”. She has faced some lawsuits and Machiavellian antics herself, as has Nader; she will continue to face negative press from the main stream, but her work in the anti-war movement has stirred some good publicity in alternative press.
On another note, a recent challenge to the Illinois State Green Party petitions has been removed on all the Presidential candidates: Cynthia McKinney, Howie Hawkins (stand-in for Mr. Nader), Kent Mesplay and Jared Ball as well as 13 of the 32 candidates which the Party is fielding for state offices; the remaining 19 are still under question. This substantial growth of campaigns will have a major impact on the Party’s visibility in the state and mid-West. Just recently, NPR ran a story which Greens feel aptly enough represents them. Will other media take them seriously in the upcoming primary?