Anatomy of a third party race

Massachusetts will join nine other states in voting in the primaries on ‘Super Tuesday,’ advancing a season predicted by many to be long and vitriolic.

But while much focus has been given to the GOP candidates, the Green Party will continue as it has for the passed 20 years.

On Tuesday, Mike Heichman, Secretary of the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, will vote in the primaries for the Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, the Lexington physician and environmental health advocate.

“You never know when something is going to explode,” says Heichman, a 65-year-old retired teacher, referring both to the party and the recent Occupy Movement.

“I think the Greens will,” The Dorchester-native adds over the phone. “Jill will have more resources for this campaign than any other GP candidate in our history. Including Nader.”

“We expect to qualify the Green Party for the ballot in at least 40 states, and are making an effort to qualify in 48,” said Campaign Manager Ben Manski in an email. “In achieving this goal, we will have succeeded in making this a more truly national campaign than in the last two presidential elections. Already, in the course of her campaign, Jill Stein has inspired the formation of new state Green parties in Utah, Vermont, and New Hampshire. There will be many more to come.”

Over the weekend, Dr. Stein opened her campaign’s national headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, and she submitted her absentee vote on Wednesday, Manski said. “We don’t want to risk her missing a flight and the opportunity to vote in the primary.”

Rise of a third party?

Jon Huntsman, the GOP candidate who withdrew from the race in January after a poor turnout in New Hampshire, has called for the rise of a strong third party candidate, and while Heichman has hopes in the Green Party’s potential, he doesn’t believe Huntsman was referring to the Greens.

“What I think Huntsman means is more of a centrist party – like when Cahill ran before,” Heichman says, dropping the name of the independent who ran for Massachusetts’ governorship in 2010. “Not my idea of a third party, one that is more progressive, and anti corporate.

As a voter, Heichman says one of the most important issues to him is the system of the United States’ political structure, which he referred to as “toxic.”

“There are two major parties in this country, and both are beholden to corporations,” he says.

Foreign policy, specifically the United States’ military spending, is also important to the voter as well.

“Please point to me the danger out there?” he said, regarding the massive costs of maintaining the United States’ armed forces both at home and abroad. “We’re an empire.”                                              

Dr. Stein’s campaign has a goal of raising about $1 million for the campaign, Heichman says. According to the FEC, in order to get matching public funds, she’ll need to get $5,000 in each of 20 states – and no contribution can be greater than $200. “I’m confident she can do that,” he adds.

“Certainly a win is a win,” Manski said, “but we expect Dr. Stein to perform very well in her home state. By Tuesday night, we expect that Dr. Stein will have won at least 50 delegates, or roughly 1/4 of what is needed to win the nomination, and 75% of all delegates won so far.”


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