ABC 2002: Third-Party And Independent Candidates

Hogan then was asked by Snelling in 1990 to serve as secretary of the housing services agency. When Snelling died suddenly, his successor, Gov. Howard Dean (D), kept Snelling's cabinet in place, and Hogan stayed on for nine years. He has also served as chair of the Vermont Health Care Authority and as president and CEO of a local business.

Hogan also has the "big" personality that can help third-party candidates make a real impression in any statewide race.

The bald-headed Hogan has a white beard and a jolly smile and has served for two decades as banjo picker and tenor singer for Cold Country, a close-knit, five-piece bluegrass band. Those are all things that make the 60-year-old Hogan stand out as a candidate — and he's being taken seriously enough to be included in debates with the two major-party candidates.

And in a state like Vermont, where the state legislature selects the next governor if no candidate can capture a majority of votes on election day, the introduction of even a moderately strong third-party candidate can have a major impact on the election.

8. New Mexico governor

State Rep. John Sanchez (R) Former Energy Secreyary and former Congressman Bill Richardson (D) David Bacon (Green) Russell Means (Independent Coalition Party)

Call it attempted political payola: Republicans in this state tried to give the Green Party $100,000 to mount competitive races in several US House districts. Democrats responded with an offer (the price tag isn't known) that would have kept the Greens from fielding a gubernatorial candidate, which would have helped their own top of the ticket. Both parties pounced in July when a technicality threatened to keep the Green candidate off the ballot.

The nervousness among both major parties is somewhat understandable. Ralph Nader got 21,000 votes here in 2000, and Al Gore won the state by about 300, and Democrats have been hurt in several state and federal races here of late by the existence of Green candidates on the ballot.

Bacon is a self-described "clean energy activist" who was born and raised in Santa Fe. He supports a "Marshall Plan" for poor inner cities and a single-payer health plan for the undercovered.

Also to note: American Indian Means is running on land grant claims for New Mexicans. Land belonging to Mexico belongs instead to New Mexicans, he believes.

9. California governor

Gov. Gray Davis (D) Businessman Bill Simon (R) Peter M. Cameho (Green)

Back when the race between Davis and Simon was closer, Camejo looked like a plausible spoiler. He still may take away from Davis some Los Angeles-area Latino and ultra-liberal votes, but probably not enough to cost Davis the seat.

He'll also be in the news around election day because he'll likely be left out of the gubernatorial debates — Davis doesn't want to draw a contrast with a more liberal candidate (Simon's camp wants Camejo in).

Born in Venezuela, Camejo is a genuine 60's radical, a former socialist presidential candidate, and now an investment banker who drives a convertible. He's been a statewide figure for years; Ronald Reagan once listed him among the "10 most dangerous" people in the state for his radical activism.

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