The Green Party comes to Minnesota, looking for new political life

Image from Dawkins for Attorney General Facebook Page

I walk into the 11:00 a.m. press conference at the Green Party's National Annual Meeting - one of the political party's biggest events of the year - and I'm a little confused. I'm normally accustomed to big rooms for these kinds of events, with chairs lined with journalists, jostling to get the best look at the candidates. But what's in front of me is an entirely different picture.

As expected, Minnesota's six Green Party candidates line a wall at the front of the room, but in front of the podium, where I expect to see the media, I instead find about 15 chairs, most empty, with a few Green Party supporters strewn about. As for the press at this press conference? I'm one of only two members who've shown up.

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It's a dark sight, but it shouldn't be a surprise. The Green Party hasn't been a political force in Minnesota for most of the past decade. The party looked to be on the rise in the early aughts, coming off of a 2000 election where presidential candidate Ralph Nader snagged more than 5 percent of the vote in Minnesota. Even local officials, like Minneapolis City councilman Cam Gordon and Park and Recreation board member Annie Young, ran on the Green platform back in 1990s, and both are still holding office today.

But that's basically been it. A Green Party candidate hasn't grabbed more than 5 percent in Minnesota since Nader in 2000. Because of that, the party hasn't qualified as a "major party" in the state for about a decade, meaning candidates haven't had access to perks like campaign subsidies or an automatic place on the ballot. Now, many voters upset about the two-party system have even shifted their preference to the libertarian-leaning Independence Party.

Maybe it's for that reason - to try to build itself back up in Minnesota - that the Green Party opted to hold its Annual National Meeting in the Twin Cities last weekend, at Macalester College in St. Paul.

I've arrived at the conference to talk with Andy Dawkins, the Green Party's candidate for Minnesota Attorney General. Dawkins was a longtime state rep, representing District 65A in St. Paul as a member of the DFL for 15 years. What makes him notable in this year's election, though, is that he's the only statewide candidate who's said no to sulfide mining, the controversial precious metal mining that could possibly damage the waters in the northern part of the state.

(Continue to page 2 to read more about Dawkins and the Green Party.)

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My Voice Nation Help

The Independence Party put in the light rail, they are against the wolf hunt, and they have in their platform that corporations are not people and money is not free speech.  

Not sure I would consider them libertarian leaning.  I think they just like balanced budgets.

midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Hey green beans, your solar panels, windmills, bicycles, buses, and trains all came out of a mine. We can either keep importing from other countries with almost no environmental standards or we can do it in the U.S. where we do it cleaner. Get your heads out of your asses. 


Oh, city pages, i know that the Green Party can be considered more "liberal" than the DFL, but they have not made major party status since 2000.   The Independence party, however, has maintained its relevance (even without media ads about empty rooms like this city pages GP ad).  The IP is the only youth friendly political party and yet you and all other media outlets refuse to write stories about them.  A third party is a must but what chance does the US have when the only stories written about them are those veiled attempts to make them look irrelevant. 

Maurice Anderson
Maurice Anderson

And just think about what America would be like had everyone else voted for him. We would probably have a normal sized military and corporations wouldn't be people and they would pay taxes...


They should have an easier time building those percentages now.  At least on the local level.  With ranked choice voting in place, people can actually vote for who they want instead of always having to vote against the bastards.

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