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October 04, 2002

Where are Greens in Uncontested Races?

I admit it-- the Greens joining the GOP in the lawsuit on behalf of Forrester pissed me off almost as much as running a candidate against Wellstone. So here's a question-- why don't the Greens run in races where one of the major parties isn'r running, thereby giving the Greens a clear shot to run without spoiling?

At the Congressional level, 46 Congresspeople or almost 10% of Congress face no major party opposition but the Greens are in few or none of those races as far as I can tell. At the state level, you have one-party states like Massachusetts where the Greens are running in only seven of two hundred legislative races, despite far more uncontested races. (Thanks to Tim Francis-Wright for his article discussing Mass.).

And where the Greens choose to run, they seem to run overwhelmingly against Democratic incumbents. In Jersey, they are contesting ONLY Democratic Congressional incumbents along with the Democratic-held Senate seat. Why won't they bloody challenge some Republicans, especially those not facing a Democratic challenger?

Posted by Nathan at October 4, 2002 10:07 AM

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You know the answer to this one: because districts with uncontested Republicans have very few likely Green supporters.

But what's wrong with running against otherwise unopposed Democrats? It seems clear to me -- maybe logically irrefutable -- that a strategy of threatening conservative Democrats with challenges from the Left, potentially including spoilers, correctly carried out would move Democrats to the left.

This isn't meant to defend actual Green strategy, of course.

Posted by: JW Mason at October 8, 2002 04:34 PM

I have no problem with opposition to unopposed Dems, although I think it's stupid to run in the general election, when a primary challenge is far more likely to succeed.

Progressives have regularly challenged and knocked out conservative Democrats in primaries over the years, going on to office in the fall. With the exception of Bernie Sanders, who had already been mayor of Vermont's largest city, has been able to jump into general elections and get elected. And he has essentially operated as a liberal member of the Dem caucus since.

Posted by: Nathan Newman at October 8, 2002 05:23 PM

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