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Template:Wikisource Rich Whitney is an Illinois politician and the Illinois Green Party's candidate for Governor of Illinois in the election of 2006. During the campaign Whitney received endorsements from numerous newspapers, including the Rockford Register Star[1], Southwest News-Herald[2], and State School News Service[3]. Whitney received 361,336 votes for 10.4% of the vote once official results were released. Whitney's campaign was a relatively strong finish for a third party. [4]

Personal historyEdit

Whitney was born in Connecticut in 1955 and currently lives in Carbondale, Illinois. He is a civil rights attorney with degrees from Michigan State University and Southern Illinois University's School of Law. He was a member of the Socialist Labor Party beginning in 1975, at one point editing "The People," the party's national newspaper. [5] He resigned from the party in 1993 and has since rejected socialism.[6][7] Whitney was involved in nationwide legal battles to regulate tobacco advertising, on behalf of the public health community, including the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and Public Citizen. Whitney also is one of the founding members of the Illinois Green Party and wrote a good portion of the Party's platform [8].

2006 run for GovernorEdit

On June 26, 2006, the Illinois Green Party filed a nominating petition including signatures of more than 39,000 Illinois voters, collected within a 90 day period. New political parties are required to collect 25,000 signatures within this period to get onto the ballot in Illinois, while established parties need only 5,000 according to state law. The petition measured approximately 19 inches thick.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, within 2 hours of filing, a copy of the petition was requested by Mike Kasper, General Counsel and Treasurer of the Democratic Party of Illinois, at 6:00pm. One week later, on July 3rd, objections to the petition were filed, claiming that many of the signatures were not genuine or did not belong to registered voters.

Green Party officials stated that the objections seemed to have been made at random, without actual examination of any records. The objections included signatures that the Greens had already crossed out; and in some cases objections were made to the 11th signature on a page, even though each page contained only 10 signatures. Even Whitney's own signature on the petition was challenged.

The hearing process involved as many as 12 or more election judges consistently working full-time for several weeks. Each party also provided a matching number of members to sit with the election judges, during the workday, as they examined thousands of signatures, either overruling or sustaining each objection. Objections were assumed valid, and automatically sustained, unless a Green Party representative was present before each election judge to compare signatures and present a defense.

Following the hearing, the State Board of Elections' Hearing Officer, Barbara Goodman, recommended that the Green Party's candidates be placed on the ballot and stated that the case was "extremely straightforward." The Board's examination confirmed that the Greens collected thousands more than the required number of signatures for ballot access.

On Election Day, Whitney ran third, receiving, with 98% of precincts reporting, 345,372 votes, or about 10%. Incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich won the election, receiving 1,648,368 votes, or about 50%. State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka ran second, with 1,318,420 votes, or about 40%.

By receiving more than 5% of the total vote, Whitney's candidacy allowed the Green Party to become an established political party statewide, according to Illinois state election law. This status provides the party with several new advantages, such as lower signature requirements for ballot access, primary elections, free access to additional voter data, the ability to elect precinct committeemen, run a partial slate of candidates at any jurisdictional level, and slate candidates without petitioning. The only other statewide established political parties are the Democratic and Republican parties. It is rare for a new political party to become established statewide in Illinois, the last to do so being the Solidarity Party in 1986 and the Progressive Party before that.

2002 & 2004 Campaigns for State House of RepresentativesEdit

In both 2002 and 2004, Whitney ran for the Illinois House of Representatives for the 115th District (Carbondale) seat. While these campaigns did not result in victory they did provide a valuable learning experience. In 2002 Whitney finished 3rd of 3 running for one seat gaining 2150 votes for 6% of the total vote. In Whitney's second attempt for elected office he managed 3,859 votes for 8.3% of the total vote.[9]

ReferencesEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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