Feb 22, 2012 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
In last November’s election perennial Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins established a unique status among seekers of public office. With his name written-in for a myriad of races, he earned a place in political urban mythology as the Person Most Electable Without Winning. “The December 27 Post-Standard reported,” he recalls the results of his run for the 4th District seat on the Common Council, “that I received write-in votes for every other district and at-Large Common Council seat, as well as votes for 5th District Justice of the Supreme Court, County Executive, District Attorney, County Comptroller, County Legislator and City Auditor.
“I received the most write-ins for Supreme Court Justice, District Attorney and County Comptroller. Since the latter two were unopposed on the ballot, that means I also came in second in those races. The 30 write-ins I received for County Executive, who was also unopposed, placed me third, behind former candidate Dale Sweetland with 40 and ahead of former incumbent Nick Pirro with 25.”
Pushing the Green agenda
In his own race, with no Republican on the ballot line, Hawkins tallied more than 48 percent of the votes, losing by 96. In the 4th District, Green votes actually outpolled Democrats. The margin of victory was provided by the Working Families line, for which volunteers from as far away as Rochester showed up to knock on doors Election Day. Hawkins cites those results as “a strong message of support for our policy platform.” That platform, and the action required to promote it, were under discussion last Sunday afternoon at ArtRage, among three dozen folks who identified with Hawkins’ 19th Green campaign.
“If it was about good ideas,” maintained a member of the Green Hawks, a group that does door-knocking for Hawkins, “we would have won long ago. We’ve go to do this face-to-face.” And while concerns were expressed for taking promotion of the Green agenda beyond preaching to the choir, with the loss by only 96 votes, it was clear that the choir didn’t turn out for this one. Hawkins noted that he got 75 percent of the votes east of Route 81 and 25 percent west of the highway, but a reduction of about 300 votes tallied from his total two years ago in Outer Comstock and the University area cost him the Council seat.
Running for President, at least for now
During the discussion Hawkins announced, as he does almost every year, that he would rather manage a campaign this year than run one, but asserted that the Greens really need an electoral presence. Last year’s results have convinced him the party can actually win a local election, and not just in the 4th Council District. And while pondering the prospects for November’s ballot, a Green enthusiast called out, “Run for President.” Actually, Hawkins admitted, his name was on the presidential nominating petitions being circulated to establish Green ballot presence in the state for the coming big dance. “Until they get a real candidate,” Hawkins said hopefully.