By Mark Wachtler
November 11, 2014. Richmond, CA. (ONN) The Green Party is celebrating after checking the results of dozens of races in Tuesday’s Election. The Party’s candidates won 27 contests, including a number of Mayor and City Council seats. The Green Party also has Major Party Status in 19 states now, up from only 5 after the 2010 midterm Elections. Best of all, one Green candidate publicly reached out to independents, Libertarians and other third party candidates, urging all opposition candidates to keep up the fight and to keep on running for office.
Matt Funiciello, Green candidate for US Rep from NY. Image courtesy of MattFunicielloForCongress.org.
“We thank and congratulate all our candidates for running this year and helping the Green Party grow," Green Party USA co-chair Starlene Rankin announced after Tuesday’s results began coming in, “The Green Party made several advances in the 2014 General Election on November 4, with Green candidates winning 27 seats and ballot lines held for most state Green Parties.”
The Green Party announcement also reported, ‘The most closely watched Green races were in Richmond, California, where outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin overcame a $3-million campaign by Chevron to defeat her slate, and New York, where Howie Hawkins challenged incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo.’ Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin was running for Richmond City Council due to term limits, along with four political allies who were running for Mayor and other City Council seats. Against corporate-funded establishment opponents, the Green ‘Team Richmond’ won.
“A profound thank you to the hundreds of Team Richmond volunteers for your hard work and dedication,” victorious City Councilwoman-elect Gayle McLaughlin told energized supporters in Richmond, California after her Election night win, “Together we overcame three million dollars-plus of corporate money! My heartfelt appreciation to the Richmond voters who made it clear that our democracy cannot be bought.”
McLaughlin went on to remark, “This historic election marks the culmination of a decade of hard work by so many in our grassroots movement. At a time when our nation’s democracy is in peril due to the outsized influence of corporate money, grassroots democracy has prevailed in Richmond. What an awesome accomplishment we have achieved together!”
California - Green Party country
Like most election years, California proved to be the Green Party’s stronghold. The same Party announcement touted, “Led by 3 present/former Green Mayors, 23 Green Party members were elected on November 4.”
In Marina, Mayor Bruce Delgado was elected to his third term. As mentioned above, Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and her four political allies were all victorious in winning the city’s Mayorship and multiple City Council seats. Green candidates were also elected to a handful of other City Council seats in additional California towns. They include Paul Pitino in Arcata, Deborah Heathersone in Pt. Arena, and John Keener in Pacifica.
Other states, other victories
In Maine, three Green candidates were victorious on November 4th. Jonathan Ault finished first in a six-way race for Gardiner City Council. Nickie Sekera won a seat on the Fryeburg Water District. And John Eder was elected to the Portland school board.
In Oregon, voters defeated a ballot measure calling for the state to switch to the ‘Top Two’ voting system that shuts out independents and opposition candidates. That was a major victory that all opposition parties and independent voters rallied against. Also, Green Party candidates were victorious like Michael Beilstein who was elected to the Corvallis City Council. And Matt Donohue who was elected a Benton County Circuit Court Judge.
In New York, Green Party candidate for Governor Howie Hawkins received over 175,000 votes. That’s more than triple the number needed to make the Green Party of New York an official ‘Major Party’ for the next four years. Showing just how much the support for Green candidates is growing, Hawkins’ 175,000-plus votes dwarfs the 59,000 he received in his previous bid for the same office four years ago.
Green’s Matt Funiciello sums up the day
While we’re talking about the New York Green Party, this author wanted to send a special thanks to the Green Party’s candidate for US Representative in New York’s CD 21 - Matt Funiciello. The man summed up Tuesday’s meaning for opposition candidates across America who may have tried their first attempt at elective office and lost. The soundly defeated Matt Funiciello had the local media and Republican and Democratic leaders alike, nervously confused. He was declaring victory, another type of victory.
A separate Green Party announcement reported, ‘You don't expect a Congressional candidate who lost by a 44 percentage point margin to say this, ”That's a major victory for the working people of this District. And we're going to do to again.”’ The losing candidate for US Congress went on to explain that one out of every ten voters gave him and the Green Party their vote.
The Political Science professor at the local Jefferson Community College, Dr. Ray Peterson, agreed telling the media, “That's a fairly large percentage for a minor party.” Speaking to the local twist to Funiciello’s specific contest, Peterson says the Green candidate did exceptionally well because he stuck to the issues. “It wasn't about the personalities, it wasn't about whether this candidate or that candidate was dishonest or hypocritical or not,” Peterson explained, “It was about the issues.”
The best part of Matt Funiciello’s concession-victory speech was when he, and the Green Party national office as well, touted the fact that all independents and opposition party candidates could celebrate his campaign, because it was for all of us. With prophetic wisdom, Funiciello explained how he showed thousands of other disenfranchised citizens in his District how easy it is to run for office, and as he says, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Green, an independent, a Libertarian or another Party. Just do it.
Speaking to us all after his Election Day defeat, the Green Congressional candidate said, “Libertarians, Greens, independent candidates who are on your ballot, please keep doing it. Try it for a few more cycles. It's the one thing we as voters don't ever do and we did it in this Election cycle.”
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