Greens Reject Endorsement for Ralph Nader
A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Ralph Nader on Friday, June 25, 2004, saying the independent presidential candidate is violating federal campaign laws by accepting office space and telephone service from a public charity he created. ",
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader speaks to supporters and reporters at a Little Rock, Ark., campaign event in this June 18, 2004, file photo. A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Ralph Nader on Friday, June 25, 2004, saying the independent presidential candidate is violating federal campaign laws by accepting office space and telephone service from a public charity he created. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)
June 26, 2004 08:40 PM EDT
MILWAUKEE - The Green Party nominated Texas attorney David Cobb as its candidate for president Saturday, dealing a blow to independent Ralph Nader's campaign.
Nader, the party's candidate in 1996 and 2000, had hoped for the party's endorsement and access to the ballot Greens have in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Instead, he will have to find another way to get on the ballot in those states, including Wisconsin and California. Nader told party officials months ago he would not accept the party's nomination for president, openly courting their formal endorsement instead.
But 408 delegates voted for Cobb on the second ballot to give him the nomination. Maine radio personality Pat LaMarche was the party's nominee for vice president.
Cobb has walked a line between praising Nader and questioning what his candidacy as an independent offered the Greens as they try to expand their status as a third party.
Had Nader won the party's endorsement, it would have been up to the state parties to decide whether to present him as their candidate for president to local election officials. Getting on the ballot in some of those states as an independent could now require him to gather thousands of signatures and meet other requirements.
Nader already has the backing of the Reform Party, which has ballot access in seven states, but he has yet to be placed on any state ballots.
The delegate vote at the party's national convention in Milwaukee underscored the deep divide among party members over who serves their cause best - Cobb, a little known party activist, or Nader, a prominent national figure, but someone who has never joined the party and does not plan to.
Nader tapped longtime Green activist Peter Camejo as his running mate this week, a step that was expected to bolster his chances of winning the party's endorsement.
In speeches before the vote, Camejo, who ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination as a Nader backer, and Cobb tried to stress what they shared, not what divided them. Still, their addresses illustrated the split within the party over Nader's candidacy.
Camejo portrayed Nader as the only option who could truly give voters an alternative to the George Bush and John Kerry campaigns. He said Nader would give the party the profile it needed to successfully build its base.
Cobb promised to support whatever decision the delegates made but warned them many state parties could lose their ballot access without a nominated candidate, an obvious warning about the possibility of endorsing Nader.