Maine Green Party Will Attempt to Run First Candidate for U.S. House

Even though the Maine Green Party has been one of the strongest state units of the Green Party for many years, the party has never had a nominee for either branch of Congress. On November 24, Henry John Bear, one of the two Green state legislators, announced his candidacy for the 2nd district in 2018. See this story.

If the petition currently circulating for ranked choice voting succeeds, and if the voters again vote in favor of that system in June 2018, then Maine will use ranked choice voting for congressional elections in 2018.


Maine Green Party Will Attempt to Run First Candidate for U.S. House — 26 Comments

  1. Wow and the fact that Maine Greens are allowing Independent voters vote in their primary and they have a gubernatorial primary means ranked choice voting could win again.

  2. He will need 4.5% of Green registrants in the district to sign his petition (and that is only to meet the minimum requirements). His congressional district is the more rural, so he may need to collect signatures from small towns with less than 100 Green members. Many Green registrants probably don’t know they are Green registrants – it was a check mark on the form, and they didn’t realize it would mean they could not vote in most primary contests (there are few Green candidates, and it is quite likely that there will never be more than one of them). “It’s as easy as one. Except when there are no candidates. Then it’s even easier – just go put the blank ballot in the trash can or ballot box, the choice is yours.”

    Meanwhile, the state will justify the cost of the equipment for a Green primary to keep candidates off the ballot. Under Top 2, it would be easier for all candidates to get on the ballot, since petitions would not need to be signed by party members. A lot more voters will vote for Green candidates, than will register as Green voters.

  3. Currently 2 USA Rep gerrymander districts in Maine.

    Elephants love the divide and conquer math.

    PR and AppV.

  4. Sadly, I would put the chance that this person makes the ballot at 0.1%. The Maine Green Independent Party, while theoretically larger than other alternative parties, has in fact severely contracted in size and participation over the past 5-10 years. In 2016, only one Green candidate ran in the general election and he has since left the party over its rightward drift and helped form the Socialist Party of Maine.

  5. Henry John Bear will probably see to it that lots of his supporters change their registration to the Green Party, and then they can sign his primary petition. He is an experienced politician and an attorney and I’m confident he knows what he is doing. He has worked as a municipal judge.

  6. Houlton, where Bear lives, only has 3557 persons. When he ran for the Maine House of Representatives in 2016, he withdrew after winning the Democratic nomination. Doesn’t Maine require petitions for each town?

  7. Jim: “Meanwhile, the state will justify the cost of the equipment for a Green primary to keep candidates off the ballot. Under Top 2, it would be easier for all candidates to get on the ballot, since petitions would not need to be signed by party members.”

    Amen. It amazes me that so many third-party advocates are against top-two, when it helps level the playing field for getting onto the primary ballot.

  8. If Bear wins Houlton it would be the first time a Green Party candidate won a precinct for Congress right?

  9. Nick, the primary ballot is one thing, and it should obviously not be a hard task for third-parties to get on, but we should not have an easy primary ballot at the cost of having only two choices in the general election. Ir amazes me that anyone would think having just two candidates with not even an option for any others to be on the main ballot is a reasonable election, especially when in so many places in this country it’d just be two Republicans or two Democrats. So much for choice under a restrictive top-two system.

  10. Nick, if the Arizona Libertarian Party wins its lawsuit in the 9th circuit, that will probably create a precedent that can be used against the Maine law on how candidates get on the primary ballot of a small qualified parties. There are ways to solve the Maine problem other than switching top-two. Maine, Massachusetts, South Dakota, and Arizona all violate Storer v Brown, which said that the number of signatures required (in this case to get on a primary ballot) can’t be more than 5% of the number of eligible signers.

  11. Average gerrymander winner is now around 60-62 percent —

    a very LOW percentage of *marginal* D or R districts

    — ie under 55 percent — ie under 10 percent margins.

    PR and AppV

  12. I’ve met Henry John Bear. I didn’t get the impression that he is an experienced politician or really knows what he is doing. Moreover, with more than a dozen candidates for the next Governor and for Maine’s second district, it is unlikely that many people will switch to the non-competitive primary. More likely is that a number of Greens will register as Democrats to support their preferred Democrat in the primary, as happens with every election.

  13. @Richard Winger,

    Why should Green or Libertarians have to get fewer signatures to get on the ballot than Democrats or Republicans simply because they insist on a segregated primary?

    Compare this to the simple alternative of requiring ALL candidates to gather the same number of signatures from the universe of all voters, and letting ALL voters vote for ANY candidate.

  14. Yes, that is a great idea, Jim, but then you poison it by only allowing two candidates to the general election, and not the more reasonable top vote-getter of each political party on the ballot. Better ballot access for third parties and independents doesn’t make top two palatable when, at the end of the day for the actual election, unless a third-party candidate is extremely well-funded, in theory, they’ll never make it to the general, and more often than not we’ll have Republican vs. Republican races and Democrat vs. Democrat races all across the country, with no place for the third parties of varying stripes. You idea starts out fine, it just ends in an extremely bad place that I still don’t understand how anyone supports, as it’s obviously a harmful system for third parties.

  15. Again –

    NO primaries.
    ONE election day.
    ALL paper mail ballots. Oregon survives.
    Ballot access via equal nominating petitions and filing fees.
    PR and AppV

  16. @JMIV,
    There is only ONE election, with multiple stages. You seem to think that the candidates are puppets of the party bosses.

    Let’s say that you think your neighbor Bob is a great guy who would be a great legislator.

    (1) Should you be able to encourage him to run? “Say Bob, you should run for the legislature?” Of course.

    (2) Should you be able to contribute to his campaign (so long as it is compliance with campaign finance laws). “Hey Bob, here is $100 bucks.” “Thanks, but I need you to fill out his form, with occupation, address, etc.” No problem, right.

    (3) Should you be able to display a yard sign? “Vote for Bob! He’s Our Neighbor and Great Guy!”, or block walk, “Hi, I’m your neighbor, I’m encouraging you to vote for Bob, he is our neighbor and a great guy! Here is a pamphlet.” Nothing wrong here.

    (4) Should you be able to support Bob in the most fundamental way, by voting for him? Duh, that’s why we have elections.

    Now imagine that Bob belongs to a different party than you. He is still your neighbor, a great guy, and would be a great legislature.

    Does that change any of your answers? Why?

  17. Perhaps Bob’s could be bills/laws are INTOLERABLE.

    Once again – think Germany – 1929-1933 — commies vs nazis while the *middle* collapsed —

    due largely to the not so great MORON WW I allies in Great Depression I — esp. letting money supplies collapse when many banks went bankrupt — MAJOR stupidity.

    PR and AppV

  18. Jim Riley, it doesn’t cost any money for any voter to change his or her party registration, so as to help a friend win a partisan nomination. In Maine one can even change party registration on-line.

    As to why the number of signatures to get a candidate on the primary ballot of a small ballot-qualified party ought to be less than the number for a large ballot-qualified party, that is entirely consistent with the US Supreme Court decision Storer v Brown. The Court said the way to evalulate candidate signature burdens is to calculate the number of signatures needed, divided by the number of eligible signers. There are far more registered Democrats and Republicans in Maine than there are registered Greens or Libertarians.

  19. As Maine is moving toward RCV, all that is needed is to eliminate primaries and their cost. This would remove the discriminatory ballot access requirement, and allow any candidates from whatever parties, or as independents, to run in a single IRV election. Parties would be able to endorse by their own process, and support a particular candidates or slate, but challengers within and outside of a party could compete on a leveled field. General election voters would have a full range of choices, and could assign varied rankings, instead of just one vote between just two candidates.

  20. Primaries have a valid function too, if run fairly and RCV as well. It allows for candidates to compete for voter loyalty to know what they stand for and weeding out weaker ones. We Greens in Maine are allowing those who are not affiliated with any party to vote in our primaries to encourage participation. Fighting hard now to overcome the legislative sabotage of our RCV victory of a year ago, vit a People’s Veto.

  21. @Richard Winger,

    Why should a voter have to game the system in order to support a neighbor? What if you wanted to vote in your party’s nomination contest for governor and US Senator? If I can switch parties on election day, or online, why can’t I switch parties in the millisecond between when I mark the governor’s race and the lieutenant governor’s race? Maybe California Democratic Party v Jones was wrongly decided based on erroneous assumptions about party loyalty?

    It is much easier to run in Maine as an independent candidate than under the old California regime. Why should splinter parties such as the Libertarian and the Independent Greens have preferential treatment.

    I remember when the Louisiana legislature when it was debating restoring the Open Primary to congressional elections. The legislators had been familiar with the Open Primary their entire political life. They could not conceive of going up to a voter and asking for their support, and when they find out they are of the “wrong” party, saying, “Thank you, but could you vote for me a month from now?”

    If Maine would adopt a Top 2 Open Primary using RCV, there would not be a constitutional issue. There would be no severe ballot access barriers. Ordinary decent voters would not have to have their political beliefs recorded by the State in order to simply being able to vote. Political parties could still form to perform the roles they traditionally play: recruitment of candidates; formulation of platforms; candidate support and voter outreach.

  22. It doesn’t follow logically that just because a state has a top-two system, therefore ballot access to the primary is easy. The Arizona top-two initiative of 2014, which was defeated 2:1, provided that all candidates needed a petition of one-half of 1% of the voters. That is not an easy petition.

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