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Here come the Greens

As Perry noted the other day, the Green Party of Texas submitted petitions to the Secretary of State to get on the ballot in certain races in Texas. They failed to do so in 2006, so this will be the first time in eight years that you will see them on your eSlate machine, assuming nothing goes wrong for them from here. As I have heard some concerns about Green candidates potentially siphoning votes away from Democratic candidates, let’s take a look at the 2002 races that featured Greens and see how they did.

Below are all the races that included a Democrat, a Republican, and a Green. Note that in almost every case, there was a Libertarian as well. In 16 races in which there was both a Libertarian candidate and a Green candidate, the Libertarian averaged 1.43%, while the Green averaged 1.03%. In 13 of the 16 races, the Libertarian finished ahead of the Green candidate. The exceptions were in the races for Comptroller (Bowie Ibarra (L), 1.19%; Ruben Reyes (G), 1.72%); Ag Commissioner (Vincent May (L), 1.17%; Jane Elioseff (G), 1.46%); and Congress in (pre-DeLay redistricting) District 25 (Guy McClendon (L), 0.94%; George Reiter (G), 1.20%). Though the latter was won by a Democrat (Chris Bell), I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the two statewide races in which the Green outdrew the Lib featured the two worst-performing Democrats in Marty Akins and Tom Ramsay.

There were two statewide races, one for the Supreme Court and one for the CCA, that had a Green but no Lib. In those races, the Green did better than average, scoring 1.75% and 1.73%, respectively. Note, however, that there were also two statewide races (not listed below) that featured a Lib but no Green, and in those races (also one for Supreme Court and one for the CCA), the Libertarian got 1.83% and 2.23%. Downballot, there were three such races, for SBOE District 5, and for State House districts 45 and 47. Here is where the Greens did their best, getting 3.21% in SBOE5, 3.24% in HD45, and 4.13% in HD47. (I did not survey downballot races with just a Libertarian, but I did notice that the SBOE race was a three-way in which the Lib got 5.80%.) The middle one, for HD45, was the only close race in the entire list, and the only one in which the Green candidate might have had an effect on the outcome, as Democratic candidate Patrick Rose won a squeaker with less than 49% of the vote. In the other two races, neither Dem cracked 40%.

Now, 2010 is a different environment than 2002, and I wouldn’t want to draw too broad an inference from these limited data points. My very tentative conclusions are that at the statewide and Congressional level, Green candidates are unlikely to have much effect. In nine of the sixteen races, the Green received less than one percent of the vote. If as many people believe, Libertarians tend to draw their votes away from Republican candidates, they will take more votes away than Greens will from Dems. Again, it could be different this year, but that’s how it looked in 2002. The effect may be greater in local races, such as for State Rep, and if I were to be concerned about an outcome being affected, that’s one place I’d worry about.

It’s also possible the effect could be greater at the county level. There was one race in Harris County that featured a Green and a Libertarian, and that was for County Judge. In that race, the Green candidate, Deborah Shafto (who ran for City Council last year as a member of the Progressive Coalition), did better than the Libertarian candidate, getting 2.06% to his 1.21%. Given that the Republican was incumbent Robert Eckels and the Democrat was some guy I’ve never heard of, candidate quality for the Ds and Rs may have been a factor, I don’t know. This year, there will also be one such race, for County Clerk, where Shafto’s fellow Progressive Coalition candidate from 2009 Don Cook will be on the ballot. Like Perry, I’m a bit concerned about the possibility that the presence of a Green candidate could give the Republican candidate an edge, but there’s nothing to be done other than to urge support of the Democratic candidate, Ann Harris Bennett. We’ll see how it goes.

One last thing: As noted by Ballot Access News, if a Green candidate gets 5% in any statewide race, or 2% in the Governor’s race, they will automatically qualify for the ballot in 2012, with the latter getting them on through 2014. I think there’s very little chance of that happening based on what we saw in 2002, where that 1.75% I cited earlier was the best any Green did, but given the lack of a Democrat in the Comptroller’s race, the odds of them qualifying for 2012 are excellent.

Anyway. Click on to see all the races that included a Green Party candidate from 2002.

U. S. Senator John Cornyn REP 2,496,243 55.29% Ron Kirk DEM 1,955,758 43.32% Scott Jameson LIB 35,538 0.78% Roy H. Williams GRN 25,051 0.55% Governor Rick Perry REP 2,632,591 57.80% Tony Sanchez DEM 1,819,798 39.96% Jeff Daiell LIB 66,720 1.46% Rahul Mahajan GRN 32,187 0.70% Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst REP 2,341,875 51.77% John Sharp DEM 2,082,281 46.03% Mark D. Gessner LIB 54,885 1.21% Nathalie Paravicini GRN 44,386 0.98% Attorney General Greg Abbott REP 2,542,184 56.72% Kirk Watson DEM 1,841,359 41.08% Jon Roland LIB 56,880 1.26% David K. Cobb GRN 41,560 0.92% Comptroller of Public Accounts Carole K. Rylander REP 2,878,732 64.16% Marty Akins DEM 1,476,976 32.92% Bowie Ibarra LIB 53,614 1.19% Ruben L. Reyes GRN 77,177 1.72% Commissioner of the General Land Office Jerry Patterson REP 2,331,700 53.16% David Bernsen DEM 1,819,365 41.48% Barbara Hernandez LIB 180,870 4.12% Michael McInerney GRN 54,130 1.23% Commissioner of Agriculture Susan Combs REP 2,636,129 59.53% Tom Ramsay DEM 1,674,372 37.81% Vincent J. May LIB 52,234 1.17% Jane W.Elioseff GRN 64,818 1.46% Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams REP 2,407,036 54.81% Sherry Boyles DEM 1,821,751 41.48% Nazirite RF Perez LIB 110,160 2.50% Charles Mauch GRN 52,322 1.19% Justice, Supreme Court, Place 2 Dale Wainwright REP 2,440,799 56.35% Jim Parsons DEM 1,814,354 41.88% Brad Rockwell GRN 76,082 1.75% Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 1 Tom Price REP 2,493,440 57.66% John W. Bull DEM 1,692,773 39.14% Stephan Kinsella LIB 71,422 1.65% Robert C. Owen GRN 66,437 1.53% Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals Place 3 Cathy Cochran REP 2,511,958 58.25% J.R. Molina DEM 1,725,065 40.00% Ollie R. Jefferson GRN 74,984 1.73% U. S. Representative District 5 Jeb Hensarling REP 81,439 58.20% Ron Chapman DEM 56,330 40.26% Dan Michalski LIB 1,283 0.91% Thomas Kemper GRN 856 0.61% U. S. Representative District 6 Joe Barton REP 115,396 70.34% Felix Alvarado DEM 45,404 27.67% Frank Brady LIB 1,992 1.21% B.J. Armstrong GRN 1,245 0.75% U. S. Representative District 23 Henry Bonilla REP 77,573 51.52% Henry Cuellar DEM 71,067 47.20% Jeffrey Blunt LIB 1,106 0.73% Ed Scharf GRN 806 0.53% U. S. Representative District 25 Tom Reiser REP 50,041 43.09% Chris Bell DEM 63,590 54.75% Guy McLendon LIB 1,096 0.94% George Reiter GRN 1,399 1.20% U. S. Representative District 26 Michael Burgess REP 123,195 74.80% Paul LeBon DEM 37,485 22.76% David Croft LIB 2,367 1.43% Gary R. Page GRN 1,631 0.99% U.S. Representative, District 31 John R. Carter REP 111,556 69.08% David Bagley DEM 44,183 27.36% Clark Simmons LIB 2,037 1.26% John Petersen GRN 1,992 1.23% R.C. Crawford IND 1,716 1.06% U.S. Representative, District 32 Pete Sessions REP 100,226 67.76% Pauline Dixon DEM 44,886 30.34% Steve Martin LIB 1,582 1.06% Carla Hubbell GRN 1,208 0.81% Member, SBOE, District 5 Dan Montgomery REP 206,656 58.92% Donna Howard DEM 132,740 37.85% Irene M. Scharf GRN 11,292 3.21% State Representative District 45 Rick Green REP 18,298 47.93% Patrick M. Rose DEM 18,633 48.81% John D. Schmidt GRN 1,239 3.24% State Representative District 47 Terry Keel REP 30,001 63.17% Bill Martin DEM 15,524 32.69% Sarah DuBose GRN 1,963 4.13% Member, State Board of Education, District 10 Cynthia Thornton REP 230,452 78.29% Lesley Ramsey GRN 63,871 21.70% State Representative District 51 Eddie Rodriguez DEM 14,389 82.26% Marjory Glowka LIB 1,793 10.25% Darren Scharf GRN 1,308 7.47% State Representative District 105 Linda Harper-Brown REP 13,461 75.84% Robert Mohler LIB 1,249 7.03% Sheril Blackmon GRN 653 3.67% Bob Romano IND 2,385 13.43% State Representative District 121 Elizabeth A. Jones REP 30,720 89.92% Harlan McVea GRN 3,441 10.07% State Representative District 122 Frank J. Corte, Jr. REP 39,048 88.44% David Travis Kelly LIB 3,362 7.61% Jack Nottingham GRN 1,738 3.93% State Representative District 132 Bill Callegari REP 21,079 90.45% Michael J. Sotir LIB 1,488 6.38% Michael Bolzenius GRN 737 3.16%

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  1. PDiddie says:

    Good post ( and interesting math).

  2. Brad M. says:

    Although it may hurt his election chances I hope Bill White does not challenge the petition. White has to earn all the votes he gets. As an independent I believe having a smaller gene pool at election time, ie only Dem, Rep and maybe Lib, only hurts all voters. We need more ideas from more candidates.

    I am a big supporter of White and am campaigning for him, but he needs to walk away from a petition challenge.

    As for the Sec of State I doubt they even review the petition since Perry will be hurt by bouncing the Greens from the ballot line. If White wins it will be in a squeaker.