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Arizona Green Party Set Itself Up For Infiltration

Benjamin Pearcy is running for a seat on the Arizona Corporation Commission. Thomas Meadows is campaigning for the position of Arizona State Treasurer. Anthony Goshorn is running to join the Arizona State Senate. All of them are running as candidates for the Arizona Green Party.

In spite of their ballot status, the Arizona Green Party lists these candidates as “actively opposed”. These candidates aren’t alone. Ten other candidates are running as Green Party candidates in Arizona, but are being opposed by the Arizona Green Party.

What’s going on? It’s a struggle for the identity of the Arizona Green Party, with a small number of party insiders insisting that they should have the right to approve or disapprove of state and local candidates running on the Green Party line, even when there is only one candidate for the Green Party space on the ballot. Angel Torres, the state Green Party co-chair says, “It is absolutely critical that our candidates are interviewed, vetted and endorsed by AZGP. This lets our registered Arizona Greens know that these candidates have met our standards, and are not carpetbaggers or opportunists trying to hijack our ballot line.”

A centralized political party exercising exclusive control, despite whatever local activists and candidates say – that sounds an awful lot like the kind of politics that the Green Party claims to be against.

There’s a wrinkle to the story. It turns out that a Republican, Steve May, encouraged these three candidates to run for office as Greens. Green Party activists are always complaining that Democrats and Republicans are all the same, but by that very standard, the Green Party of Arizona now looks no better.

These self-declared Green Party candidates are terrible representatives of the Green Party, to be sure. Goshorn, for example, wants to use the power of government to push worship of the Christian god in public schools.

Whose fault is it, though, that these candidates are representing the Arizona Green Party? Why were the insiders of the Arizona Green Party not working to recruit candidates of their own for these positions? If Steve May could recruit candidates so easily, why couldn’t the core officers of the Arizona Green Party do the same?

Ballot Access News complains that these candidates are tools of political manipulation: “If the Green Party had known that these candidates would be filing declarations of candidacy, the party could have recruited bona fide Greens to also file write-in declarations of candidacy, and the bona fide Greens certainly would have received more write-ins than the candidates recruited by the Republicans. But, the Green Party had no means of knowing what was about to happen, and by the time they knew, it was too late.” Of course, political manipulation is what electoral campaigns are all about. People organize to advance candidates, using strategy to promote their causes, directly or indirectly. If the Green Party of Arizona central committee had found candidates it had approved of, and given support to those candidates, Steve May wouldn’t have been able to find recruits to plug in as GOP pawns.

If the Green Party of Arizona wants to be taken seriously, it needs to get on top of its game, rather than allowing the Republicans and Democrats to use it as a political shuttlecock.

8 thoughts on “Arizona Green Party Set Itself Up For Infiltration”

  1. Tom says:

    Well isn’t that special. Now we have lying assholes “pretending” to be Green (in name only) so they can get elected by people fed up with the duopoly. i guess that about does it for the political process being a viable means of change (at least in Arizona), eh?

  2. J. Clifford says:

    Actually, no, I don’t think so, Tom. How are those candidates pretending to be Green? They’re running as Green Party candidates, and they’re certainly more substantial candidates than all the Arizona Green Party members who decided not to run. The political process could have gone the way of the Green Party insiders, if only they’d mustered a brief breeze of effort.

  3. Ross says:

    I don’t really think this is the Green Party’s fault. If they don’t think it’s advantageous to run in a certain race or can’t find a qualified candidate, there’s no reason for them to do so. It’s silly to expect them to fill every single nomination available with a party-certified candidate just to avoid things like this. As Richard Winger also pointed out, the party is, iirc, forced into having primaries, when nomination by convention makes more sense for such a small party because of exactly what happened in Arizona.

    Also, I WOULD say that they’re “pretending” to be Green. They’re not actually supporters of the Green Party, apparently, and they’re not running to help the Greens. They’re running to, in all likelihood, hurt Democrats and help Republicans.

    1. J. Clifford says:

      Ross, what kind of political party believes that it’s not advantageous to run very many candidates for political office?

      1. Ross Levin says:

        One that has very limited resources and would prefer to do well (at least relatively) in a few races rather than poorly in a lot of races.

  4. Ross says:

    Also, it’s kind of disappointing that this is the only Green Party news you’ve had on the site since, I think, the news that Lynne Williams dropped out of the governor’s race in Maine.

    1. J. Clifford says:

      Ross, that’s not really true. We’ve noted other Green Party candidates since then.

      But, if you’re disappointed that this is the only Green Party news we’ve reported recently, well, the reason is that Green Party candidates have made a rather disappointingly low effort to make the news. By and large, they’re not campaigning very hard.

      1. Ross Levin says:

        I disagree with that. If you’re not actively searching the stuff out, then I could see how you would get that impression. But, at least from where I’m looking (and I follow these things very closely), there are many more active Green campaigns now than in 2008. Tom Clements in South Carolina, Hugh Giordano in Philly, Ben Manski in Wisconsin, Lynne Williams and many others in Maine, some in California, a bunch in Illinois, and the list goes on.

        Plus, “making the news” isn’t all that a good campaign takes.

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