Green Party gears up for Illinois November election

Written By Sun-Times Wire Posted: 01/29/2014, 04:52pm

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As attention is focused on Illinois’ March 18 primary election, the Illinois Green Party is quietly assembling its own slate of statewide candidates.

The party has a March 15 meeting scheduled in Homewood, when it’s likely a slate will be chosen. It’s a crucial year for the Green Party because last time around in 2010 Scott Lee Cohen — running as an independent — cut far enough into the party’s normal base that the party lost its status as an established statewide party.

As a result, for example, this year’s Green candidates were knocked off the primary ballot in 10 races for Cook County commissioner. But the party does have candidates in two Illinois congressional districts and is running a slate for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

Rich Whitney

Rich Whitney

Rich Whitney, party chairman and the gubernatorial candidate in the past two elections, said he isn’t running for governor again.

“We are still in the process of recruiting,” he said. “We do have names, some people we are talking to.”

But so far, no Green Party candidate has announced for any of the constitutional offices.

Whitney thinks this could be a good year for Green candidates.

“The state situation is not improved in most respects,” he said. “Obviously, the issue of hydraulic fracturing is now an important component of any such campaign. …. I think you can expect any [Green] candidate to be offering a real answer to state’s pension crisis.”

The rules are stacked against parties that challenge the Democrats and Republicans; the Green Party will need to come up with 40,000 or so signatures by the end of June to be sure of surviving signature challenges and clearing the 25,000-signature requirement.

But Whitney says that won’t be problem.

“We know how to do it,” he said. “That is one thing we have gotten very experienced at.”

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