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©_2002_Authorized and_paid_for_by_the Committee_to_Elect Vivian_Houghton Attorney_General, 800_N_West_St., Wilmington_DE_19801

Committee to Elect 
Vivian Houghton Attorney General

Press Release

November 7, 2002


J. Roy Cannon, Media Representative
Green Party of Delaware
(302)738-9963, jcannon11@comcast.net


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 party race. 

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. 


Green Party of Delaware

Green Party of the United States