June 4, 2004
Pacific Green Party ready to weigh in on Nader
Oregon members will pick 19 delegates to the national convention, which may play a key role in the 2004 race
Oregon's Pacific Green Party will decide this weekend whether to throw its weight behind Ralph Nader's independent presidential candidacy or to back a candidate from within the party's ranks.
Party members will meet Saturday at Portland State University to choose 19 delegates to the national Green Party convention later this month in Milwaukee. The Oregon convention, which will continue Sunday, is open to voters who have been registered in the Pacific Green Party no later than April 28.
The national Green Party's decision could play an important role in the presidential race. If Nader were to receive the party's endorsement, that would help him qualify for 16 state ballots, including in Oregon.
Nader, who ran twice before under the Green Party banner, has faced difficulty in several states -- including Oregon -- in qualifying for the ballot as an independent. Many Democrats blame Nader for costing them the 2000 election, a charge that Nader rejects.
Under state election law, the Pacific Green Party would have to hold an additional nominating convention to put Nader on the ballot here.
Many Green Party members are pushing to nominate another candidate. At this point, the candidate with the most pledged delegates is David Cobb, a veteran party activist who ran for Texas attorney general in 2002.
"I think there's pretty much two camps," said Blair Bobier, a Pacific Green activist who is Cobb's media coordinator. "It's Nader and Cobb, basically."
Bobier said Cobb has recognized the perception that the Greens could play a spoiler role in the election by pledging to concentrate his effort in states where the race between President Bush and Democrat John Kerry is not close.
As many as 200 Pacific Green Party members are expected to attend the convention, said Jeff Cropp, the convention coordinator. In addition, the party is accepting absentee ballots from party members; it has received about 50 so far, he said. The party has about 14,000 voters in Oregon.
More information can be found at www.pacificgreens.org or by calling the Portland office of the party at 503-235-0300.
Jeff Mapes: 503-221-8209; firstname.lastname@example.org