Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Friday, March 18, 2005

Third-Party Rules Change

From a story on Oden's run today in the BDN:
On Monday, the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously supported a bill that would remove a requirement that third-party candidates receive 5 percent of the statewide vote in the gubernatorial or presidential race to maintain the party's official status.

Under the proposed changes, which will go before the House later this session, a party could keep its status by maintaining a membership equal to 1 percent of enrolled voters. In Maine, that's about 10,000 people.

As of Jan. 1, 2005, the Maine Green Independent Party, the state's only official third party, had 19,006 members.

While the change would remove the necessity for the Greens to field a top-tier candidate - an expensive endeavor that proved a hardship in the party's early years - Green officials say times have changed. A run for the Blaine House, they said, is now manageable - and all but certain.

"We've evolved to a point where we have a much wider footprint across the state and can focus on a statewide race," said Matt Tilley, co-chairman of the Greens. "I assume someone will pick up the torch in 2006."

So will this make the Greens less likely to run candidates in statewide races (and take votes on the left) now that they don't need to run to exist, or will this just further entrench them as a party and increase their political presence?

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