Philly Green Party

2015 Municipal Election Summary

Posted in 2015 Municipal Elections, Election Operations on Nov 16, 2015

EOW Group Report #3, November 16, 2015

The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) had one candidate on the ballot in 2015, Kristin Combs who ran for Philadelphia City Council. She was listed in a city-wide campaign for one of the minor-party, at-large seats. Kristin did an exceptional job of running a full-time campaign while, at the same time, teaching high school.

Here are some of Kristin’s accomplishments. She was 1) the first Green Party candidate to achieve city-wide ballot status since 2012, 2) the first GPOP candidate to receive the endorsement of AFSCME District Council 33 and APWU Local 7048, and 3) the first GPOP candidate to receive the endorsement of the Philadelphia chapters of Americans for Democratic Action and National Organization for Women (NOW) PAC.
As a result, Kristin earned more than 11,181 votes in the General Election on November 3. This was historically the highest vote total of any Green Party candidate running city-wide in Philadelphia. She accomplished this by convincing many voters to “split their ticket,” i.e. to vote for one Green candidate, while they were still voting with another party for the rest of the ballot.

Polling GPOP’s Membership
On November 4, members of GPOP’s Election Operations Working (EOW) Group, GPOP NEWS and GPOP Chat, received a request to evaluate the Green Party and Kristin Combs’ performance in the 2015 General Election. We received five thoughtful responses (three from GPOP Chat and two from GPOP News).
Neil Haagen, a leader of the Green Party of Centre County, PA, responding via telephone, expressed a widely-held opinion: “I think that Kristin should be congratulated for the campaign she ran. As a young school teacher with no electoral experience and zero name recognition, Kristin acquired many endorsements and the active support of labor and movement organizations. Through the dedication of time and energy, she carried out a smart campaign which drew more than 11,100 neighbors to vote for her.”

More Volunteers Required
As for our members’ thoughts on improving future Green Party campaigns, there was one overriding issue of agreement. Judy Becker, who volunteered for Kristin at a polling place in Olney (Ward 61), said, “We needed more volunteers.” There you have it: winning an election is tough work and no candidate can do it alone.
Green Party candidates have found over the last eleven years that there is one simple ingredient which will improve the vote for a candidate at any polling place – a volunteer who is present and asking neighbors for their vote. We know that this was true when Tom Hutt ran as a Green for City Council District 9 in 2004, and it has been proven to be true in nearly every election since then. [Please see “History of Green Party Volunteers in Philadelphia Elections (2007 – 2013).”]

Okay, we understand that some Greens had to work on November 3, but there were many other tasks for volunteers. Peter Applebaum pointed out, “Driving around Germantown and Mount Airy, I saw [yard] signs all over along the streets. Walking around Center City, the Northeast, South Philly, there was no evidence that Kristin was running for election.” Perhaps some Greens in Center City, the Northeast and South Philly will volunteer an hour next year to put up yard signs for future Green candidates.
Kristin Combs has complained that she faced “a near media black-out.” On this point, Peter Applebaum had another good idea for volunteers, “The Inquirer is a powerful force. In the next campaign, 1000 Green Party members should harass the Inquirer until they know enough to endorse the candidate.”
Bernadette Marie Cronin-Geller, who volunteered at the polls in Roxborough (Ward 21) for Kristin, pointed out another area in which we need more volunteers, “Folks I talked with did not know that the Green Party was a party like the Dems or Repubs. We need good literature about the Green Party and how it’s different. That will require more folks willing to educate by creative means.”

“I also think we need more experienced candidates with city-wide exposure,” continued Bernadette, “which is where Chris’ [Electoral Operations Working (EOW) Group] comes in.” The EOW Group is now recruiting Green Party candidates for 2016. They are searching for people who want to make a change and who are fed up with the current two-party, do-nothing politics. The EOW Group needs your help in contacting movement, labor and neighborhood organizations around the city.
We also received a long email via GPOP Chat from Bruce Haskins, who had six suggestions for improving Green Party electoral campaigns.

I hope that these thoughts will be helpful to future Green Party candidates. I also hope that these opinions will convince you to join the GPOP EOW Group. If you have additional suggestions, please let me know for inclusion in Report #4.
Sincerely,
Chris Robinson, 215-843-4256
nwgreens@yahoo.com
City Committee Member at Large
Green Party of Philadelphia
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Posted on 11/16/’15 to: Green Party of the U.S. ; GPOP News, Northwest Greens, and GPOP Chat.
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