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Green primary

The Democrats and Republicans are getting all the attention, but one of the newest things next Tuesday is the first-time-ever Illinois Green Party primary.

The Greens won status as an established party by polling over 5 percent two years ago, when candidate Rich Whitney racked up twice that margin in the gubernatorial contest.

Now the party has the modest goal of letting its supporters know they can request a Green Party ballot, said spokesperson Patrick Kelly.

Election judges aren’t generally letting voters know they have another choice, he said, reporting that many judges have changed their spiel from “Democrat or Republican?” to “which ballot do you want?”  He’d prefer “Democratic, Republican, or Green Party?”

The Greens are running nine candidates for Congress and six for state legislature in addition to several county and local offices and dozens running for party committee posts (candidates are listed here).  It’s a big increase for a party that previously has run only one Congressional candidate, and it reflects much easier ballot access requirements since winning official status.

But only the presidential race is contested, with four candidates on the Green ballot, including former Congress member Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Howie Hawkins of the Draft Nader Committee, and California environmentalist Kent Mesplay.  Educator and hip-hop activist Jared Ball of Washington D.C. is also on the ballot but has dropped out of the race and endorsed McKinney.

Kelly said the party holds high hopes for its three candidates for Metropolitan Water District in November; candidate Nadine Bopp was featured in a Monday Tribune article on her green map project, though her candidacy wasn’t mentioned.

The Greens currently have five elected officials in Illinois, including a McHenry County Community College trustee, two school board members, and a city council member in Poplar Grove.

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