CONCORD - In a coffee shop on Main Street yesterday, the New Hampshire Green Party threw its support behind presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. And if Kucinich fails in his attempt for the Democratic nomination, Green Party spokesman Guy Chichester said the party may try to recruit the Ohio congressman to run on its ticket in the general election.
Yesterday's endorsement was made in the couch section of the Coffee Mill. Green Party organizers and Kucinich campaigners would have preferred the State House across the street as a setting, but said they were denied access.
The endorsement marks the first time in the Green Party's 13-year history in the state that it has endorsed a member of another political party in the presidential primary.
"We know the primary is controlled by money," Chichester said as a woman ordered a small coffee a few feet away. "Dennis deserves the support of all who care about peace, social justice and environmental sanity."
The number of Green Party members in the state is unknown. Chichester pointed to the 22,000 state voters who supported Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election as evidence of Green voter muscle. He later acknowledged that at least some of those voters likely were Democrats who crossed over to vote for Nader.
Questioned by reporters, Kucinich repeatedly said he was running for president as a Democrat, not a member of the Green Party. "I think it's possible to bring Green Party principles into the Democratic Party," he said.
Kucinich, who wants 20 percent of America's energy generated by renewable energy by 2010, also repeated his criticism of Ohio coal factories for causing acid rain in the Northeast.
Endorsements rarely affect an election, especially in a primary, said Dean Spiliotes, a political scientist at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Yet, he added, a third party, such as the Green Party, could be a "spoiler" in the general election, as some say happened in 2000 when Nader siphoned votes from Al Gore.
Kucinich said he was grateful for the Green Party endorsement, adding that Green politics is "not about money, it's about principles."
After the endorsement announcement, Kucinich made stops at the Concord Food Co-op, Gibson's Book Store and Bread and Chocolate.
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