Green Party

NY-27: ‘Green Party’ Candidate Drops Out

A candidate for the Green Party line in New York’s 27th Congressional District, who the party said was a Republican plant, has declined the nomination. Known GOP operatives, including former Assembly candidate Ross Kostecky, circulated petitions for West Seneca resident Michael Zak earlier this month.

On Tuesday, Kostecky also signed off as the Notary Public on Zak’s Certificate of Declination. The move came after several media reports, including one from Capital Tonight, about the situation.

“It’s so obvious that it was an underhanded, awful, undemocratic thing to do. So the public pressure was on them and they backed down,” Erie County Green Party Chairman Eric Jones said.

Jones believed Republican incumbent Chris Collins campaign was behind the effort to “steal” the line, although a Collins spokesperson denied that accusation. Zak had never run for office before and very recently registered Green.

Capital Tonight reached out to his listed phone number yesterday, and was hung up on while explaining why we were calling.

“Obviously when reporters are knocking at his door and calling him, he probably was like, hey, this isn’t what I signed up for,” Jones said.

The party was planning on challenging the signatures, although it was not optimistic about the prospects of winning that challenge. Jones said Zak dropping out will allow the party to focus on more important matters like the gubernatorial campaign for Green candidate Howie Hawkins.

The declination was submitted yesterday before the state board of elections deadline.

Fallout From GOP Co-Opt Of Green Party Line

From the Morning Memo:

The Erie County Green Party said local Republican operatives co-opted its line by circulating petitions in NY-27 for a candidate who does not represent party values. Green Chairman Eric Jones said it is the latest and most publicized implementation of the tactic, but it’s certainly not the first time this has occurred.

“Oddly enough, it doesn’t happen in other parts of the state,” he said. “This is a uniquely Western New York thing, these fake candidates.”

In 2016, the party challenged another candidate its official said was a GOP plant in the 60th state Senate District race between Republican Chris Jacobs and Democrat Amber Small.

The Greens actually took that case to court, but a judge found the party didn’t have much legal ground to stand on. And Jones doesn’t have much confidence they will have better luck with the Board of Elections this time around, either.

“There is a process to challenge petitions in New York election law,” he said. “This petition itself, you know, we’re looking at, but it was professionally done.”

The situation is particularly sticky for the Green Party this year because its officials want to make sure their members vote in the gubernatorial race. Howie Hawkins is again running for governor – for the third time – and the party needs at least 50,000 votes to maintain ballot access under New York state law.

Jones said making sure people don’t continue to go down the line after checking the box for Hawkins will take a significant educational effort. He said the party is planning on sending direct mail to Green voters who live in NY-27, which, of course, will be costly.

“That’s very frustrating for us that we have to devote resources to a race that we were staying out of,” he said.

The party is also looking at ways to make sure nobody “steals” its line in the future. That could mean it has to circulate petitions for a candidate in essentially every local and federal race  (the party can designate candidates at its convention for state elections) to make sure the lines are protected.

Jones said that is also a “horrible drain on resources” for an organization that does not have the same amount of money or manpower as the major parties anyway.

Asthma Causes Cancellation of Stein UAlbany Event

Hillary Clinton, who was recently forced to take some time off the campaign trail to recuperate from pneumonia, isn’t the only presidential nominee with health challenges.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who was supposed to appear today at UAlbany, cancelled the event due to an asthma attack that was triggered about a week ago by “poor air quality” during a hotel stay, according to her campaign.

Stein, a medical doctor and activist from Massachusetts, has publicly noted her struggles with asthma, though it has been in remission for many years, her campaign said.

(The candidate is a vegetarian and eats a very limited diet, which she credits for keeping her healthy – a fact I happen to know, since I discussed it with her the last time she swung through the Capital Region and appeared on Capital Tonight).

Yahoo! News chief national correspondent Lisa Belkin wrote this in a recent profile of Stein:

During our hour-long sit-down conversation, Stein stops 12 different times to cough. She’s suffered from asthma since childhood, she explains, taking a sizeable Omega-3 capsule from her pocket at one point and swallows it dry, explaining that, when combined with an anti-inflammatory diet and the right amount of Omega-6, she’s kept that asthma under control for three years.

In other words, this is not the first time Stein has experienced this problem during this race, and her campaign acknowledged as much in the statement it released on the UAlbany event, saying:

“Air quality issues are frequently encountered in commercial hotels and air travel, which have all continued to aggravate her condition to the point where she has had to withdraw from travel for at least 24 hours in order to recover.”

The candidate is scheduled to return to NYC tonight to attend a scheduled taping of a presidential town hall forum with John Stossel for the Fox Business Network.

The New York Greens plan to hold the UAlbany event without Stein, though she will be providing a video-taped address to the students and community members coming to the rally.

The event will be headlined by performance artist and Green Party Senate candidate Robin Laverne Wilson, along with Matt Funicello, who is making his second NY-21 run on the Green Party line this fall.

Greens Plan To Run Candidate In NY-19

As Republican Rep. Chris Gibson signals plans to retire at the end of his two-year term, the Green Party plans to run a competitive candidate in the 19th congressional district.

The Green Party’s plans follow a strong run from Matt Funiciello, a Glens Falls baker, in the NY-21 last year. Funiciello faced Democrat Aaron Wolf and the eventual winner, Republican Elise Stefanik.

The party, in a statement this afternoon, does not identify any candidate it has in mind to run in the Hudson Valley congressional seat.

“A Green running on a platform of living wages jobs for all, single-payer universal health care, transitioning to a 100% renewable economy, ending mass government surveillance, stopping our foreign wars, fully funding our public educational system and making public college free will find a large base of support. Our experience last year with Matt Funiciello in NY-21 shows that people are ready for a candidate that articulates the interests of working people, not Wall St. Matt’s 11% after being outspent 70-1 is simply a baseline from which Green candidates in this region will grow, and we look forward to the race in NY-19” said Upper Hudson Green Party member and Green Exec Committeeperson Peter LaVenia.

The Greens have been on something of an upswing lately given the strong showing by Howie Hawkins in the race for governor. Hawkins, a second-time gubernatorial candidate, gained enough votes to move the party up to Row D, displacing the Working Families Party.

Democrats in the Hudson Valley have been eyeing the NY-19 in the last several election cycles given that the district backed President Obama’s re-election in 2012. Should a Green Party candidate run well, expect cries of “spoiler” in the battleground district.

Republicans have two years to find a strong candidate to defend the seat as well help them fundraise in advance of what could be a difficult fight to retain the seat in 2016.

Greens Cry Foul Over GOP Senate Candidate’s Mailer (Updated)

The Green Party is up in arms over a mailer sent out by Terrence Murphy, the Republican running for retiring Sen. Greg Ball’s Hudson Valley seat, that links the candidate to Green gubernatorial hopeful Howie Hawkins.

The mailer, which does not indicate – as required by law – who is responsible for sending it, informs voters who want to protect the environment and stop hydrofracking that they only have “one choice” – to support the Green Party’s candidates in tomorrow’s elections.

It features photos of both Hawkins and Murphy, saying the gubernatorial candidate is “100 percent” against fracking, while the Senate candidate “voted against” fracking (in his current position as a member of the Yorktown Council).

The mailer also accuses Murphy’s Democratic opponent, attorney Justin Wagner, of representing “one of the largest fracking companies” whose natural gas flows through the Algonquin pipeline, which is slated for expansion in Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties.

The firm that employs Wagner represents ExxonMobil; the candidate himself is on the record opposing fracking in New York “at this time.”

There has also been some debate during the campaign over Murphy’s position on fracking, which appears to have evolved to the point where he is on the record in support of a moratorium – not the full out ban the Greens have been seeking since 2010.

The pipeline has been an issue in the 40th SD race for some time now.

Murphy won a Green Party primary by 50 votes back in September as a write-in candidate. State Green Party Co-Chair Michael O’Neil called the Republican’s write-in tactic “reprehensible” and “potentially unconstitutional,” accusing him of using the Opportunity to Ballot process to “steal” Row E for this election.

“(B)ut he is *not* a Green Party Candidate from the perspective of the Green Party of NY State,” O’Neil continued. “We abhor his use of opportunity to ballot and this mailer to confuse voters…On the mailer, Murphy attempts to align himself with Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for governor who is currently polling around 10 percent statewide against Andrew Cuomo. The Hawkins campaign was not notified at all about this mailer and has not endorsed Murphy.”

“…This is plain and simple dirty tricks politics to make voters believe Murphy is part of a Green movement to which he is actually fundamentally opposed. It is the kind of cynical prevarication that turns people away from electoral politics and only the latest example of why Opportunity to Ballot and ‘fusion voting’ should be abolished in New York State.”

Murphy also has the Conservative, Independence and Stop Common Core lines, while Wagner’s name will appear on just two lines – Democrat and Working Families.

(Like a handful of his fellow Democratic Senate candidates, Wagner’s effort to petition his way onto the governor’s Women’s Equality Party line failed).

UPDATE: A SoP reader set me straight on the disclaimer question, writing:

“Candidates for state office in New York have no legal obligation to include a ‘paid for’ disclaimer anywhere. This stems from the Duryea decision in the mid 1970s. Perry Duryea, and several Democrat and Republican legislators were indicted for doing mailers without disclaimers, which supported third party candidates whose success would have been beneficial to the candidates whom the legislators supported.”

“The courts threw out the indictments, claiming that anonymous political speech was synonymous with free speech. As a result, there is no requirement for a disclaimer on state campaigns – from governor down to Assembly.”

Hawkins On WFP’s ‘A Silly Argument’

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in a radio interview on Monday said the Working Families Party is making a “silly argument” to suggest vote for Gov. Andrew Cuomo on their ballot line will send a message.

“It’s a silly argument,” Hawkins said. “You’re still voting for Cuomo. You open that wrapper of the Working families line, it’s the same old Cuomo in the box.”

The labor-backed party is at odds with Cuomo in recent days over his comments about public education being a “monopoly” and his vows to strengthen charter schools in his second term.

The governor is also pushing for votes for himself on the newly formed Women’s Equality Party, with an eye toward making the party a permanent ballot line.

The push for the WEP is concerning to the WFP, given that it could siphon liberal votes away from the ballot line, thus endangering their position at Row D.

Cuomo has said it’s “tortured analysis” to suggest he’s trying to damage the Working Families Party even as he decried “fringe” ballot lines in general.

The WFP, in turn, has called on voters to back the governor as a way to send him a “message” on Tuesday of their support for a variety of liberal causes.

Hawkins, of course, is no disinterested observer. He wants the Green Party to keep not only its ballot status, but potentially even poll in double digits for the first time in a gubernatorial contest.

Hawkins Gets Jim Owles Club Nod

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins yesterday received the endorsement of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club – the first time the NYC LGBT club has backed a non-Democrat for governor in its 10-year history.

Club President Allen Roskoff, a frequent critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, called Hawkins a “true progressive.”

“We will not endorse someone just because they are registered in the party when they do not uphold the ideals and progressive principles of the party,” said Roskoff.

“On economic and equity issues Governor Cuomo acts more like a Republican than a Democrat. For those of us who believe in economic justice we thought it would be unconscionable to endorse Andrew Cuomo.”

Roskoff cited a number of problems Cuomo, including the Moreland Commission mess, his failure to issue a fracking decision, refusal to debate before the September primary and reluctance to use his powers of clemency – the subject a of recent rally organized by Roskoff outside the Westchester County home the governor shares with his girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee.

The Jim Owles Club also endorsed Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Fordham Law School Prof. Zephyr Teachout.

The club is the second NYC-based liberal organization to support Hawkins’ campaign. The first was the Village Independence Democrats, which also broke with tradition by backing a third party candidate for governor for the first time in its 57-year history.

VID, which supported Teachout and her running mate, Columbia Law School Prof. Tim Wu, in the primary, (rescinding its previous support for Cuomo’s running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul, in the process), also backed Hawkins’ running mate, Green Party LG candidate Brian Jones.

A recent Q poll showed Hawkins receiving 9 percent of the vote, which the candidate said during a CapTon interview surpassed his own campaign’s goal of 5 percent.

Green Party Success Buoys Republicans

From the morning memo:

One silver lining for Rob Astorino in these congressional polls has been the performance of Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins, who is reaching double digits.

The hope for Republicans is that Hawkins, perhaps drawing in disaffected Democrats and supporters of Zephyr Teachout’s primary campaign, will eat enough into Cuomo’s lead in the general election.

Hawkins is a proven vote getter: In 2010, he received more than 50,000 votes on the Green Party, thus securing ballot status for the party this time around.

Without having to spend time petitioning for the ballot, the Hawkins campaign has been putting its efforts into field work and fundraising.

As Hawkins has gained strength in the polls, Astorino has shifted from being opposed to the Green Party candidate’s participation in a debate to being open to the idea.

Republicans are pointing to Cuomo’s public swings from emphasizing liberal issues in the lead up to the primary two weeks ago and then a quick dash back to the center on economic concerns as he tries to burnish his support in the business community as unpalatable for liberal voters.

Still, the Cuomo campaign plans to field a robust and vast GOTV effort, with an emphasis on digital advertising, person-to-person voter contact and a push to get women, even Republican women, out to the polls to vote.

Hawkins: ‘Scandal’ That Bills New Owner Is Fracking Rich

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins thinks there are “real issues” to debate about the NFL, but which candidate roots for what team is not one of them.

In a statement released this afternoon, Hawkins took Gov. Andrew Cuomo to task for the Erie County Democratic Party ad that slammed his Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, for being a Miami Dolphins fan, and featured an Astorino family photo that had been edited to remove his 11-year-old son, Sean, from the foreground.

“While the rest of the country was debating the issues of domestic violence, child abuse and the NFL, Cuomo spent his campaign dollars photoshopping Astorino’s son out of a sport attack ad,” Hawkins noted. “Rather than debating which sports teams we follow, we should be debating jobs, health care and climate change.”

“The NFL needs to send a stronger message that it is not going to tolerate violence against women, children and its own players. One way to show they are serious is by firing Commissioner Goodell.”

According to Hawkins, the “real scandal” related to the Buffalo Bills is that the team’s new owner, Terry Pegula, made his money in fracking – the controversial natural gas drilling process to which the Green Party is vehemently opposed.

Also, Hawkins believes the NFL has deteriorated into a “modern version of the gladiator fights with its misuse and abuse of its players.” He is a supporter of non-profit community ownership of sports teams on the model of the Green Bay Packers, and opposes tax subsidies and other giveaways provided to billionaire NFL owners to keep them from relocating their teams.

In case you were wondering, Hawkins, a San Francisco native, is a fan of the 49ers and the Oakland Raiders. His second tier favorites are the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills. He also roots for his hometown Syracuse Orange and his alma mater Dartmouth Big Green in college football.

Also, Hawkins is not alone in his call for the gubernatorial race debate to turn to more substantial matters. Daily News columnist Bill Hammond took both Astorino and Cuomo to task for focusing on sports and political gamesmanship instead of issues.

Hammond slammed Cuomo for failing to put forth an agenda for the second four-year term he’s seeking, noting that in 2010, candidate Cuomo released seven book-length white papers addressing everything from ethics reform to energy policy. But Hammond also had some sharp words for Astorino, saying the county executive lacks a clear message and affirmative priorities, and instead is offering a “mish-mash of proposals and talking points.”

Astorino Warms To Hawkins In Debate

With Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins piercing through double-digits in public polls, Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino says he is open to including the third-party candidate.

“You’ve got one of two people who can win the race – Andrew Cuomo or me. We’re the major party candidates,” Astorino said in a Capital Tonight interview on Friday. “I think it’s potentially up for discussion at the time of the debates, if Howie Hawkins is doing very well then maybe it should be considered.”

Hawkins has polled statewide at 10 percent, and in two congressional districts — the NY-19 and the NY-21 — Hawkins receives 12 percent of the vote in a race including Astorino and Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo.

Astorino has called repeatedly for televised debates in different regions of the state with Cuomo, who is running for a second term.

The Republican — who trails in name recognition and fundraising against Cuomo — has said the best forum would be for a one-on-one with Cuomo.

But as Hawkins makes a play for voters who backed Fordham Law School professor Zephyr Teachout in last week’s Democratic primary — a contest that saw her receive 34 percent of the vote — the Green Party candidate could siphon some votes from the Democratic general election ticket.

Hawkins, along with Ralph Nader, sat for an exclusive interview that airs this evening on Capital Tonight.