ALBANY, NY. – Free & Equal continues its coverage of the NY gubernatorial race with Charles Barron (Freedom Party), Howie Hawkins (Green Party), Warren Redlich (Libertarian Party) and Jimmy McMillan (Rent Is 2 Damn High Party), as the New York state independent and grassroots party candidates turned in their independent nominating petitions, last week.
“A petition was filed for a ‘Tea Party’ but the nominee is a former Democratic Party state committee member with no ties to the Tea Party movement,” said Christina Tobin, president and founder of Free and Equal Elections Foundation. “There is no evidence of any active campaign other than the petition filed. This is a transparent attempt to confuse voters.”
Compared to New York’s arcane challenge period, gathering 15,000 signatures was the easy part. With the challenge period upon us, Free & Equal asked each campaign how they felt about the inevitable challenges.
Jimmy McMillan is the hard working and charismatic founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party (spelled “Rent Is 2 Damn High” in order to fit on the ballot), a single issue party dedicated to reducing the cost of living in New York City. Having submitted only a little over 15,000 signatures, McMillan is vulnerable to a challenge. However, McMillan is not the type to give up easily. He successfully sued the Board of Elections in order to use the word “Damn” in the name of his party.
Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins said he is confident he can survive a challenge with 27,500 signatures. “We have successfully petitioned our five statewide candidates on the ballot by the independent nominating petition process,” Hawkins said. “That doesn’t mean ballot access in New York is fair. The five recognized parties did not have to petition to place the statewide candidates they designated at their conventions on the ballot. While disparities in ballot access were not a problem for our statewide slate, many of our candidates for U.S. Congress and state Senate and Assembly had difficulty.”
Former Ron Paul campaign lawyer and Libertarian Party candidate Warren Redlich also said he is confident, having submitted nearly 34,000 signatures. “My mother was out there getting signatures, my father-in-law too. Hundreds of people helped … and we had a dedicated team who spent the past week putting it all together,” Redlich said of the unprecedented volunteer effort. “Now that we’re on the ballot, we can work on delivering the message to the voters.”
Freedom Party candidate Charles Barron said he is upset with the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy on diversity, including its nomination of an all-white statewide slate this year. He could not be reached for comment as of this writing, but had this to say recently, when asked about petition challenges: “Bring it. We dare them to challenge us.” Regarding debates, he said: “Let the debates begin … if they try to say we’re some fringe organization and we can’t be in the debates, we’re going to break the door down!”
It looks like New York will have an exciting gubernatorial campaign.