Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By SUSAN M. COVER Kennebec Journal
AUGUSTA - Lynne Williams of the Green Independent Party dropped out of the race for governor Monday, saying she couldn't get the 2,000 signatures needed to put her on the ballot.
It will be the first time in 16 years that Maine voters won't have the option of voting for a Green for governor.
Williams, a lawyer from Bar Harbor, said she had more than 60 volunteers trying to get the signatures, but the effort failed.
She said the state standard that requires 2,000 signatures from party members is too stringent, when the Greens have fewer than 30,000 members. Democrats and Republicans also need 2,000 signatures, but those parties have 250,000 to 300,000 registered members each.
She said it would be fairer to Greens, and any other parties that try to form in Maine, to require signatures from a percentage of registered party members, not a flat number.
"I don't think we need three parties -- we need four, five or six in this state. And no new party is going to be able to get any traction as long as the law remains as it is," Williams said.
She said she did not use paid signature gatherers and spread her effort beyond areas where Green candidates have traditionally gotten support: Portland and college campuses.
Williams also tried but failed to meet state qualifications to use public money for her campaign, which distracted her from getting the signatures, she said. "That was a hurdle that took away a lot of my time from organizing the campaign."
A change in state law means the Greens will remain a recognized party in Maine, even without a candidate on the gubernatorial ballot.
"We are not required to run a gubernatorial candidate to maintain party status," Williams said. Instead, at least 10,000 registered Greens must vote in November's election.
The party, formed in 1984 in Augusta, is the oldest Green state party in the United States.
The party stands for "10 key values," which include protecting human rights and the environment, according to the party's Web site.
Williams said she will turn her attention to helping Green legislative candidates get elected, and to her law practice.
Monday's deadline for petition signatures set the field for Democrats and Republicans running for governor.
The June 8 ballot for Democrats will include: Patrick McGowan, Elizabeth Mitchell, John Richardson, Steven Rowe and Rosa Scarcelli.
The Republican ballot will list Steven Abbott, William Beardsley, Matt Jacobson, Paul LePage, Peter Mills, Les Otten and Bruce Poliquin.
Unenrolled candidates, also called independents, have until June 1 to turn in at least 4,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: email@example.com