WASHINGTON - February 22 - Greens welcomed Ralph Nader's entry into the presidential race today as an independent, saying that Mr. Nader will take positions and raise issues of vital urgency in the 2004 race for the White House.
Greens noted that the Green Party of the United States and its 43 affiliate state parties are preparing to back a Green nominee, not an independent or another party's candidate.
"In running a presidential ticket this year, we're keeping our eyes on the prize. Our mid-term goal is the creation of a multi-party political system, and the participation of a strong Green Party in that system," said Ben Manski, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "To move closer to achieving our goal, we run and support Green candidates."
The following candidates have confirmed their participation in the Green primaries with the national party: Sheila Bilyeau, Peter Camejo, David Cobb, Paul Glover, Kent Mesplay, Carol Miller, Lorna Salzman. More information about their campaigns, with links to their web sites, is posted at http://www.gp.org/convention/process.html
Upcoming forums and debates featuring Green presidential candidates are posted at http://www.gp.org/greensweek/index.html, the web page for Greensweek, the party's national weekly bulletin. (Scroll down to 'Upcoming Events.')
Some Greens have launched a 'Redraft Nader' campaign to persuade Mr. Nader to to reverse his earlier decision to not seek the Green Party nomination and instead accept a nomination at the party's national convention in Milwaukee. There is also a campaign among some Green Party members to urge the party not to run a national candidate in 2004.
"We wish Ralph well and thank him for working with us and supporting us all these years," said Jo Chamberlain, also a co-chair of the national Green Party. "Our candidates -- and our eventual nominee -- are campaigning on a platform similar to his, so we don't consider ourselves in any kind of public competition with him."
Greens stressed the importance of participation by the Green Party's nominee, by Mr. Nader, and by other 'third party' candidates in the presidential debates. The Green Party, Mr. Nader, and other candidates and parties from across the political spectrum have filed suit charging the Federal Election Commission with failing to act on their complaint seeking to decertify the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) as sponsor of the presidential debates in 2004 http://www.gp.org/press/pr_02_11_04.html The plaintiffs allege that the CPD must be decertified because it is a partisan group that is controlled by the two major parties and acts to benefit them exclusively.
"The debates are owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties, through the Commission on Presidential Debates [CPD]," said Jake Schneider, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. "The CPD has an interest in obstructing all candidates who are outside of these two parties, and in narrowing the public debate in deference to the CPD's corporate sponsors. This is profoundly antidemocratic, and limits the ability of voters to make informed choices. We need a nonpartisan debate commission that's free of corporate influence, the kind of effort currently being organized by the Citizens' Debate Commission."
The Green Party of the United States formally announced its 2004 National Nominating Convention, to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from June 23 to 28, 2004. The convention will take place at the Midwest Center, Milwaukee Theater, and the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency. The party has posted an online registration page, with early registration encouraged https://secure.gpus.org/convention/. Media representatives may register at this site; a media credentialing web page will be posted shortly.