Nov 18, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
This race was not his first time in the campaign rodeo, but it won’t be his last, either — Green Populist candidate Howie Hawkins said he plans to run for Syracuse City Council councilor-at-large in 2009.
While the end of Election Day 2008 found candidates in other parties celebrating wins or licking their wounds, Hawkins was busy looking forward.
At the election night party at campaign headquarters on Salina Street, Hawkins said the mood was disappointed, but not disheartened.
“Nobody was devastated,” Hawkins said of fellow Green party members and supporters. “I think people were a little disappointed in the number.”
Hawkins garnered more than 8,800 votes in the race for the 25th District Congressional seat, against Democrat Dan Maffei and Republican Dale Sweetland. In comparison to other Greens in three-way races across the country, Hawkins said his 4 percent of votes were above the national average.
What went wrong
“Half of my vote was scared back into the Maffei column,” Hawkins said of his recent loss to Maffei. “A lot of people got scared at the last minute and voted for Maffei even though they preferred me.”
The defeat has recharged him for future races. He hopes to also have a Green candidate run for Mayor. Hawkins said with two councilor-at-large and the mayor’s terms ending in December 2009, voters’ “lesser evil” argument may have less potential to influence their decisions.
After the ballots were counted last week, Hawkins released a statement geared toward incoming Democrats, stating that they no longer could excuse social and economic problems as the fault of a Republican majority in the government.
“Most voters don’t go read the specifics, they go on their gut and their gut was, ‘Republicans created this disaster, we need to try something new.’ Democrats were the most plausible option,” Hawkins mused last week.
“The tactics may change a little bit, but the outcome won’t,” he predicted.
A plan of action
Hawkins will also see his own campaigning tactics sharpened in the coming race, he said.
Utilizing direct mailings and getting an earlier start on the campaign, along with continuing to canvass neighborhoods are ways Hawkins plans to grab a hold of voters’ attention in the race.
“I understand that only a small minority actually read the paper every day or listen to a debate,” Hawkins said. “What it tells me is that we can’t rely on the media, we have to continue to do what we can do to get into it and be a presence in people’s lives.”
Hawkins said within 10 minutes of the election results, the Green campaign knew what had gone wrong and were formulating plans for the next campaign.
“We know what to do, the question is developing a plan,” Hawkins said.
Look for an established Green Populist “field operation” next year in the race for City Council.