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Green Party of the United States: 2008 Elections
The Green Party of the United States held its 2008 national nominating convention from July 10-13, 2008 at the Palmer House Hilton and Chicago Symphony Center in Chicago, IL.  Former George Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney accepted the nomination and named hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente as her running mate.

Like the major parties, state Green parties chose their delegates to the national convention through a variety of methods including primaries, caucuses, and state conventions.  All told there were 836 delegate positions, making the number needed to nominate 419.  A temporary committee determined the formula for allocating delegates to the states based on four factors: membership numbers, campaign strength (Green candidates/elected Greens), state voting strength (votes received by Green candidates), and presidential voting strength (votes received by the Green presidential nominee in 2004 or 2000).
McKinney, the most prominent declared candidate, seemed to withdraw from consideration in September 2007 but then announced her candidacy on December 16, 2007.  Nader, an Independent, was the Green Party's standardbearer in 2000 but failed to gain the party's nomination in 2004.  Some Greens have had enough of Nader; another knock against him is that he has remained an Independent.  Nader was subject of a draft effort launched in March 2007 (veteran New York Green Howie Hawkins was a leader in that endeavor); he launched an exploratory committee at the end of January 2008 and formally announced in February, naming Matt Gonzalez, a Green Party member from San Francisco, as his running mate. 

While the races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations drew intense interest, the campaign for the Green Party nomination garnered little attention.  There were several candidate forums.  The Presidential Campaign Support Committee organized a candidates forum at the party's National Committee meeting in Reading, Pennsylvania in July 2007 that drew a handful of candidates; both Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney also appeared at the National Committee meeting.  The Northern California Green Presidential Debate held January 13, 2008 at the Herbst Theater/Veterans Memorial Building in San Francisco, California on January 13, 2008 drew Johnson, McKinney, Mesplay and Swift.  Cindy Sheehan and former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez co-moderated.

By mid-June 2008, former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney led with over 300 delegates of the 419 needed to nominate, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader was second with 137, mostly from California.  Rounding out the field were uncommitted; Kent Mesplay, who ran in 2004 and works as an air quality inspector in San Diego County, California; Jesse Johnson, who was the 2004 gubernatorial nominee of the Mountain Party in West Virginia and has worked as an actor; and kat swift of Texas. [see Green Party delegate count page
See also

Presidential Campaign Support Committee
Delegate Apportionment Committee (temporary)

Article by Greg Jan and Dana St. George (2004)

1. In a January 12, 2007 e-mail, PCSC co-chair Phil Huckelberry wrote, "Discussions have only just begun on things like the conduct of the nominating convention.  I can speak for many other people in saying that my hope is that all rules discussions will be completed by mid-2007, instead of last time when we were still voting on potential rules amendments at the convention itself."  Huckelberry elaborated on the committee's work, answering a couple of questions:

Question:  In addition to the conduct of the nominating convention, what are other major things you will be addressing?

Strengthening the ability of individual state parties to conduct internal primary/preference processes; stepping up work on securing ballot access in states, especially those where we can petition in 2007; forging better lanes of communication between prospective candidates and state parties.  We have found in the past that individual Greens have not had a good working knowledge of who the candidates for the nomination have been, and we increasingly see it as the role of the national party to help provide that knowledge.

Question: What is the most contentious or difficult issue facing the committee?

The most difficult issue is trying to figure out where the line should be drawn between work of the national party and work of the state parties.  In general Greens are highly disdainful of top-down systems and extremely defensive about state party autonomy, but several state parties have expressed that they were totally lost in 2004, and we can't let that happen again.  The real work of running a grassroots campaign happens at the local-state level; national offices do not go out and place signs in people's yards.

Former Prospects
an administrative assistant from NYC; supports Nader.

-Alan Augustson, a political analyst, economist and management consultant from Chicago, started out as a candidate for President but decided instead to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois' 5th District.

-Jared Ball, a member of the DC Statehood/Green Party and an assistant professor of communications studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore, announced the end of his campaign and his support for Cynthia McKinney at a Green Party presidential debate in San Francisco on Jan. 13, 2008.

-Elaine Brown, who chaired the Black Panther Party from 1974-77 and in recent years has focused on "radical reform of the criminal justice system," withdrew from the Green Party presidential race and renounced her Green Party membership in a Dec, 28, 2007 statement.

-Nan Garrett, who was a candidate for Governor of Georgia in 2002, had also started a campaign but on Feb. 5, 2007 she posted this note on her website:

This past week, I was forced to choose between my job and running for President. At this time, my campaign's financial wherewithal is not able to "support" me, even if I was able to immediately transition to a full time campaign, so I am withdrawing from the race for the Green Party's nomination for President.

I want to thank all the people who have supported me in entering this race and those who have listened, supported and counseled me in making this decision to withdraw. Although I still have dreams of running for President, it's not meant to be for now.

Work for Peace,
Nan Garrett

-Rebecca Rotzler, Deputy Mayor of New Paltz and GP-US Co-Chair, was subject of a draft effort.

Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action