Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Another Wild Card

The Denver Post is reporting that:

Bob Kinsey, a Denver peace activist who in a 2004 congressional race was able to peel off significant votes from the major parties, says he'll run as a Green Party candidate for Colorado's open Senate seat...

Kinsey declared that he'll focus on a core of issues he says are being skirted by the major candidates — immediate withdrawal from Iraq and the impeachment of President Bush among them. Both issues are top concerns for a narrow group of progressive voters who otherwise would likely support Udall.

The last third party candidate to make the statewide ballot in Colorado was Ross Perot, the man who made Bill Clinton President and who may also have gifted the nation Hillary.

Third party candidates can impact the outcome of an election. It will be interesting to see how and if that happens in 2008. Mark Udall's campaign manager, Mike Melanson, didn't seem very worried, perhaps because having a Green Party candidate in the race gives the impression that Udall has moved to the center without his having to change a single position.

Committed Green Party activists will likely remember publicly the ploy Mark Udall's staff used to get Caroline Bninski a one year jail term. It was doubtless intended by his cynical staff as a Sister Souljah moment, but it was ham handed in its execution.

Udall's staff had made an agreement with Bninski for a peaceful anti-war demonstration that lasted over a period of weeks. Until the last day, she followed the agreement.

She announced that she would perform an act of civil disobedience on that last day. The cops were called about 30 seconds later. Udall's staff reportedly told the judge that she had disrupted office operations for weeks. While that may have been true, her conduct was protected by her agreement with the staff and by the First Amendment's right to petition.

The Denver Post reported the incident in the most deceptive way possible, claiming that she got a $500 fine and a month in jail. She actually got a year in jail, all but 35 days suspended, and a $1,000 fine, half suspended.

It will be an interesting election.

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