Green Party of Texas
The Green Party of Texas is the state party organization for
Texasof the Green Party of the United States.
The Green Party of Texas began to organize a serious, statewide, grassroots effort in the late 1990s. While there were certainly active Greens and small, active Green groups in large cities throughout the state (particularly Houston, Dallas and Austin) before this time, the lead up to
Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign helped spur Green growth in Texas.
The last two male Co-Chairs of the Green Party Black Caucus
Sundiata Tellem(2004-2007) and Alfred Molison(2007-) along with former National Women's Caucus Spokesperson Kat Swift(2005-2007) are Texas Greens.
Texas is a state where minor party and independent candidates must collect signatures to gain
ballot access. For the Greens of Texas to participate in electoral politics (while this is not the sole goal of the Green Party), they must raise large numbers of signatures to have their candidates listed on the ballot. The party did this in 2000, and then got more than 5% of the vote in not just one but three statewide races that year, retaining ballot access for 2002. Although many candidates ran in 2002, ballot access was lost. Another petition signature drive to regain ballot access did not succeed in 2004. The most recent petition drive (2006) officially ended May 29, 2006. The number of signatures the party neded to gather was 45,540. This number is based on the last gubernatorial election. It represents 1% of the total voters who cast ballots for governor in 2002.
Ballot access was achieved in
Texasby the Green Party, which allowed Ralph Nader and a slate of other statewide and local candidates to have their names printed on the ballot alongside Democrats, Republicans, Libertarian and Independents.The drive in 2000 was achieved using volunteerwith a little help from paid petitioners, most of them greens who came from other states; over 30,000 of those signatures were collected in the last two weeks alone. The goal for signatures was about 64,000 (based on the gubernatorial election of 1998, including a sizable cushion for invalid signatures); over 76,000 qualified signatures were collected. Three of the Green Party candidates got the required 5% threshold for one statewide candidate to achieve in order to retain ballot access for 2002 (the highest was the late Ben Levy for State Supreme Court, who received 9.7% with 451,338 votes).
Having retained access to the ballot for this year, the Green Party of Texas fielded 28 candidates to appear on the ballot around the state, in addition to candidates for several local races. None of the statewide candidates achieved the required 5% of vote, so the Green Party lost ballot access for 2004. (Many people attribute this to rancor from 2000 election results.) Tens of thousands of Texans voted Green; Lesley Nicole Ramsey got 21.7% with 63,871 votes for State Board of Education, District 10; Ruben Reyes got 1.72% with 77,177 votes for Comptroller of Public Accounts; several candidates for statewide judge seats received votes within that range.
Since ballot access was lost, the Green Party of Texas would have had to gather in well in excess of 45,540 signatures (1% of the votes cast for Governor in 2002) in order to regain ballot access for this year. Instead of doing this, the party focused on local elections; there are now three Green elected officials in Texas: David Lanman (Mayor, Marfa), Bob Brewer (City Council, Ward 5, Alpine), and George Rice (Water Board, Bexar County).
The deadline for petition signature gathering ended after only 75 days for the Green Party of Texas on May 29, 2006. The party did not reach the goal of 75,000 signatures or the legal requirement of 45,540 signatures. The actual number collected, mostly by volunteers, was about 27,000 statewide. This election cycle included competition for signatures from two independent candidates (Kinky Friedman and Carole Strayhorn). Many registered voters had already voted in the primaries, meaning that they could not sign petitions for other candidates; remaining eligible people were often confused by the fact that they were not allowed to sign a petition for more than one independent, nor for more than one third party, but they could sign one of each. Election laws differ widely between states, adding to voter confusion.
Election 2006 Candidates
While they did not gain ballot access, the Green Party was required by the Texas
Secretary of Stateto have declared by January 2 what candidates it would have run for which races if it had gained ballot access. The party announced candidates in about 22 statewide and local races. The highest offices its candidates would have sought were governorand a U.S. Senateseat. Charles Waterburywas a write in candidate for Texas Supreme Court. A number of local offices were also sought, including a county commissioner's seat in Bexar County, Texas. Further information can be found at [http://www.txgreens.org TXGreens.org] .
As of June 2007 there were 4 elected Green officeholders in Texas. [http://www.feinstein.org/greenparty/electeds.html]
*David Lanman, Mayor, Marfa
*Bob Brewer, City Council, Ward 5, Alpine
*George Rice, Water Board (Bexar County)
*Enrique Valdivia, Water Board, Edwards Aquifer Authority District 7
* [http://txgreens.org Green Party of Texas] official website
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