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Looking to Green Party's future

CAMPAIGN '08: RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Cynthia McKinney, its leading presidential contender, wants to raise the party's national profile.

July 11, 2008|Rick Pearson | Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — As Green Party members gather here to select a presidential nominee and try to turn their progressive activism into an established spot on the nation's ballots, they'll also be trying to raise some green to defray the costs of their political convention.

Party officials were forced to turn to some of their members last month for a no-interest loan of up to $15,000 to help pay for the convention, which began Thursday and runs through Saturday.

Four candidates are vying for the nomination, with former U.S. Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney (D-Ga.) in the lead. She holds 304.5 of the 419 delegates needed.

McKinney and other Green leaders acknowledge that winning isn't necessarily about taking the White House. It's also about drawing enough votes to ensure the party has its nominee automatically listed on state ballots, instead of having to run signature drives to gain access state by state every four years. The Greens expect to appear on the ballot in 40 states.

Earlier this year, McKinney chided a Washington reporter who called her presidential bid a "long shot," saying, "We define for ourselves what winning is."

She said achieving 5% of the vote, a threshold in many states for gaining status as an established political party, was a "very concrete goal" of her candidacy.

As a congresswoman, McKinney had her share of controversies, including a scuffle with Capitol Police. She was elected to Congress in 1992, lost a bid for reelection in 2002, regained her seat in 2004 and lost the 2006 primary.

In her campaign, she is pushing for the impeachment of President Bush and a quick end to the Iraq war. She also advocates a human rights plan that includes reform of the nation's voting system and slavery reparations for African Americans.

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