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Maine Green Party Celebrates Election Milestones
11/07/2012   Reported By: Patty B. Wight

It's not easy to get a leg up in political races when you're not running on the ticket of one of the two major parties.  But the Green Party got a small victory of sorts in Maine this election, on two fronts.  Green presidential candidate Jill Stein won more votes from Maine compared to any other state.  And as Patty Wight reports, municipal elections in Portland saw two Green incumbents win re-election, while another gained a new seat on the school board.

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The number of votes Green presidential candidate Jill Stein won in Maine this election is - drum roll please - just over 1 percent.  It may not sound like much, but it's the first time any state has voted at least 1 percent for a Green presidential candidate since Ralph Nader in 2000. 

That year, Nader won 6 percent of the Maine vote.  Still, for Green Party member David Marshall, this year's results are a good sign. "I'd say our influence is growing in the state of Maine."

Maine was the first state in the U.S. to establish a Green Party back in 1984, and has the highest percentage of registered Greens in the nation.  David Marshall was just re-elected for a third term to the Portland City Council, along with fellow Green Kevin Donoghue. 

Donoghue says he thinks the Green Party is most vital and most viable in municipal and state offices. "I think what's interesting about the Green Party story in Maine is less about Jill Stein's percentages and the Nader legacy, and more about the discussions that happen at local levels, and the distinctions that get drawn when you do introduce another coalition."

Donoghue and Marshall are the longest-standing elected Greens in the state, after Jon Eder, who served two terms in the state Legislature.  This year, a half-dozen Green candidates ran for legislative seats.  In years past, their numbers have been much higher.  And while none of them got elected, Maine Green Party chair Asher Platts is not discouraged.

"I think people are starting to wake up and realize that the politics of fear - the politics of voting for lesser evils - is getting us all the things that we were afraid of getting in the first place," Platts says. 

Maine Green Party members say they gauge success by the policy changes they bring.  Not to be outdone by the Greens, Libertarians also had some traction this election.  Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson got more votes from Maine than any other previous Libertarian candidate, and edged out Jill Stein for third place behind the major parties.



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