Newsday, December 14, 2022
The Green Party of New York has put out a strongly worded news release criticizing the speed of climate action in Albany and urging the State Legislature to come back in January with a more ambitious environmental plan.
It was a jolting demand not so much because of the content, which is classic Green policy, but the form: In gubernatorial election years, the party would have had a standard-bearer in the race to raise such issues. That has been true for every gubernatorial race after 1994.
But not this year, given Andrew Cuomo-era changes that made it harder for minor parties to keep a ballot line.
“It's frustrating,” says multiple-time Green gubernatorial hopeful Howie Hawkins, whom The Point caught by phone last week during his lunch break from jury duty selection in Onondaga County.
Hawkins, who was on the ballot for the Greens from 2010 to 2018, said that the lack of a Green candidate formally in the race this cycle curtailed the party’s ability to raise their issues. In previous years, he had been able to promote Green views — like opposition to fracking — on the debate stage and in events, appearances, and media coverage. That was much harder this year.
Hawkins himself ran a write-in campaign, but it didn’t catch fire: The state Board of Elections logged less than 10,000 total write-in votes for any candidate out of nearly 6 million cast in early results. Hawkins said he still did some events in places like Albany and Syracuse, and he debated online with Libertarian Larry Sharpe who also did not have a ballot spot, but “not many people saw it,” Hawkins said.
The retired UPS worker saw hope ahead for the Greens, however, including the launch of campaigns for local office next year and state legislative ones the year after that. After that would come the consequential attempt to regain a perch on the gubernatorial ballot in 2026.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano