Committee to Elect
Vivian Houghton Attorney General
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2002
J. Roy Cannon, Media Representative
Green Party of Delaware
DELAWARE WINS WITH HOUGHTON CAMPAIGN
Green Party of Delaware poised for diverse growth,
seeks to "spoil" by electing Greens.
Newark, Delaware: Despite Jane Brady's reelection on
Tuesday, Delaware citizens emerge as winners with Houghton's "People First"
campaign for the office of Attorney General. The three-way race and bold
positions taken by the Houghton campaign led to an increase in votes for
Attorney General of over 50,000 (28%) from the previous Attorney General
election (1998). In the first statewide campaign by a Green Party of
Delaware candidate, Houghton gained recognition and respect like no other
third party candidate has in the recent history of Delaware electoral
politics. A record 13,861 Delawareans voted for the Green Party candidate
in a three-way race, a tremendous increase from the 8,307 who voted for
Ralph Nader for President. Ultimately, these 13,861 Delawareans are
the winners of Tuesday's elections as they voted their conscience in
making their selection for the best candidate.
Houghton Victories Abound
In the landmark campaign, Houghton earned the endorsement
of several organizations new to the Green Party, including the United Auto
Workers, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Delaware Million Moms
March, and Green Delaware. Their support speaks to the increasing breadth
and diversity of progressive and independent-minded people finding a voice
in the Green Party's platform. The platform addresses issues like repeal
of the Taft-Hartly Act (a union busting law enacted in the 1930's), laws
to make guns safer and less available to criminals, proactive legislation
to ensure the civil rights of all Americans, and restoring a safe
environment. The safe environment issue resonated particularly in
Delaware, where due to toxic pollution, the state has the fourth-highest
cancer rate in the nation and one area of New Castle County has the
highest rate of childhood asthma in the nation.
Early on, and despite the formidable obstacle of a media "brownout,"
Houghton established her campaign as a serious and credible one. As a
result, she participated in numerous debates and forums with her
opponents. Over the course of the campaign, thousands of Delawareans were
able to hear a new voice and message for a fair and equitable justice
system, prosecution of those responsible for environmental crimes, tougher
gun control laws, and fundamental educational reform.
Houghton's campaign had another very positive impact on
Delaware politics. Houghton's campaign budget, estimated at one tenth of
what was spent by each of Schnee and Brady, relied on hundred's of
volunteers to get the message out to voters. Distinguished from other
campaigns, Houghton campaign workers participated in the real
decision-making during the campaign, including identifying the most
relevant issues, which events to attend, and deciding how to best use
limited funds. Her workers were empowered to make important decisions and
encouraged to follow through with their ideas. The Houghton campaign "walked
the talk," practicing participatory democracy like no other.
Throughout the campaign, Houghton sought people out "in
the streets" and treated seriously their concerns. The campaign also met
with and consulted with community-based groups, such as Common Cause of
Delaware, the Delaware Clean Air Council, union locals, Stand Up for What's
Right and Just, and groups within the Hispanic and African-American
communities--something that most Democrat and Republican campaigns don't
do, except to get their votes and then ignore them once in office. As
Attorney General, Houghton pledged to continue this "grassroots" contact
with the groups she referred to as the "community experts," representing
various fields of knowledge.
The Houghton campaign for Attorney General more than
doubled the percentage of voters who voted for a Green Party candidate
(6.1%) from those who voted for Ralph Nader for President in 2000 (2.5%).
In three representative districts (RD-23, RD-01, and RD-02),
Houghton broke into double digit percentage points, revealing a solid, if
not yet dominant, base of support for the Green Party vision and values.
RD-23 has always led the state in participation in the Green Party. The
real growth was in RD-01 and RD-02, both inner city Wilmington districts.
Green Party Embraces "Spoiler" Label
The Houghton campaign from the start to the finish was a "spoiler"
campaign if by that one means its goal was to see Vivian elected to the
office of Delaware Attorney General. The campaign was committed to earning
the confidence and vote of citizens--just like any other candidate in any
election would do. Only those who confine their analysis of election
results to the "two party box" are unable to appreciate this important
role in our democracy. In locking themselves away in the "two party box"
the major parties invent an excuse not to examine their party's own
failings. Their failings included a feeble campaign by Schnee, who, for
example, only two weeks before the election, repeatedly answered specific
issue-oriented questions at a community forum with, "I don't know where I
stand on that right now. I'll find out when I'm elected and let you know."
The Houghton campaign took votes from traditionally
Democratic voters. It also took votes from traditionally Republican
voters. Early review of election results tend to confirm this assertion in
that the percentage of votes for the Republican candidate declined by 7.8%
from the previous AG election, while the percentage of votes for the
Democratic candidate increased by 1.7%. In the 2000 elections it was
established that several times as many registered Democrats voted for Bush
as voted for Ralph Nader. The Green Party asserts that many Houghton
voters were likely not to have vote for either Brady or Schnee in a two
Finally, some have argued that "third parties can't win"
as retired professor Jim Soles was reported to have commented about the
2002 AG election. This is simply an inaccurate assertion. Its
untruth was demonstrated in 1998 in Minnesota with the election of
Governor Ventura. Election results from across the U.S. document how
nationally the Green Party continues its steady growth. In 2002, we have
seen a new record of Green Party candidate victories (33 at this time),
with the total number of Green Party office-holders growing to a current
total of 171 Greens in elected office.
If the major parties are truly concerned about Greens
spoiling their efforts to win, they should join the Green Party in calling
for legislation to enact Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV), a reform where
voters rank their preferred candidates. IRV ensures that a candidate must
win with a majority of votes and removes the quandary of voting for the "least
worst" candidate. As Greens are apt to point out, if you vote for the
least worst, no matter what, you still get the worst.
"The Green Party will continue to grow. 2004 will see more
Green Party candidates and victories as we build a diverse base of
progressive and independent minded people," said Karen Lienau, Green Party
of Delaware National Representative to the Green Party of the United
States. "Both major parties are rudderless in the sea of corrupted
corporate-financed campaigns, out of touch with the majority of our
citizens, many of whom decline to vote for either party", she said.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Green Party of Delaware
Green Party of the United States