McKinney Wins Two Green Primaries, Loses California

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(APN) ATLANTA — Four of the states holding Primaries or Caucuses on Super Tuesday, February 04, 2008, included ballot choices for the Green Party, in addition to the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Former US Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) won in Arkansas and Illinois to become the Green Party’s 2008 Presidential nominee, but lost to former US Presidential candidate Ralph Nader–who at this time has not declared his candidacy–in the populous State of California.

“In Illinois, it’s obvious there’s a lot of enthusiasm for Ms. McKinney. What a lot of Ms. McKinney’s supporters believe is that she may take the Party in new directions. People have spoken of a Black-Brown-Green coalition,” Scott McLarty, spokesman for the Green Party’s national office, told Atlanta Progressive News.

McKinney’s strongest win was in Illinois. There, she received 57% of the vote, according to the latest results from the Associated Press. Howie Hawkins, a “place-holder” for Mr. Nader, received 17%. Kent Mesplay received 14%. Jared Ball, who recently dropped out of the race and endorsed McKinney, received 12%.

McKinney also won in Arkansas. There, she received 20% of the vote, Jared Ball received 11%, Mesplay received 8%, and Kat Swift received 6%, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website. Neither Nader nor Hawkins ran in Arkansas. 55% of the vote went to “Uncommitted,” a category not listed in the other states.

In California, Mr. Nader received the most votes even though he did not declare his candidacy.

Nader received 61%, according to the California Secretary of State’s website. McKinney received 26%. Elaine Brown, a Georgia activist, who recently left the Green Party, received 5%. Swift received 3%. Mesplay, Ball, and Jesse Johnson received 2% each or less.

McKinney, who recently moved to Berkeley to attend the University of California, Berkeley, for her Ph.D., received the most votes in San Francisco County, however.

“As people have said throughout history, who knows what’s going on in California?” McLarty commented.

“The Green Party Members got him on the ballot,” in California, California Green Party spokeswoman Sara Amir told APN.

“The issue is that Cynthia McKinney didn’t campaign in California, not very much. People didn’t know her. Ralph Nader is a known quantity. That’s why Cynthia McKinney got a lower vote than Ralph Nader,” Amir said.

“She declared her candidacy late because of her campaign issues. I got to meet her and I really, really like her. I think she’s really smart, she understands the issues, and she’s really listens. She’s a tremendous candidate. She speaks to the issues of the Green Party. However, she’s not a known quantity in California,” Amir said.

“Of course, everybody loves Ralph Nader too. I think people who knew her, they understood her. But I’ve talked to some of the Green Party members, who are not activists but are Members, they did not know anything about her,” Amir said.

Results in Massachusetts are not in yet, McLarty told APN, but initial results show a very close race there between McKinney and Nader.

Washington, DC, is the only other state or District that holds a Green Primary in the US. Their Primary will be held on February 12, 2008.

“In DC, she has very strong support,” McLarty said. “In a lot of places, the response [to McKinney] is enthusiastic.”

No other states have held unofficial Green Party statewide meetings, conventions, or caucuses yet, to determine how to apportion their official delegates, McLarty said.

“People have high hopes that Ralph is gonna do what he did in 2000 and run Green,” McLarty said.

“The Party expects Ralph Nader to make an announcement fairly soon. If he announces he’s running for the Green nomination, then the apportionment of California delegates will go to Mr. Nader. If he decides he’s not going to run, California will have to figure out something,” about their delegates, McLarty said.

“What may also happen is as in 2004, an endorsement of Mr. Nader’s non-Green campaign. I can’t say that will happen in 2008. A lot of Green Party registrants are pretty gung-ho on having a Green candidate,” McLarty said.

“People are encouraging him to run and that will resolve the whole thing,” McLarty said.

“The Green Party represents something different than all the major parties. The full and immediate withdrawal of all of our troops from Iraq. Both parties [Democrats and Republicans] are against that. Single-payer Medicare for all. The Democrats have rejected that. I could go on and on. All of our Presidential Candidates represent that. The question is, who is going to represent us as a Presidential Candidate in the best way possible,” McLarty said.

The McKinney Campaign did not immediately return a voice message left by APN.

The Green Party will hold their national convention in Chicago, Illinois, July 10 to 13, 2008.

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for Atlanta Progressive News and may be reached at matthew@atlantaprogressivenews.com.

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