ABC 2002: Third-Party And Independent Candidates

The general thrust of Camejo's message is that Davis has abandoned progressives and liberals. Camejo has secured the endorsement of a few prominent Hispanic leaders in the state, and he's going full-bore after that segment of the vote: his campaign tells us he wants to get at least 20 to 30 percent.

He'll spend lots of time in San Francisco, where he'll stump with newly elected Green city supervisor Matt Gonzales. And he's reportedly talked with representatives of the California Teachers Association, whose leaders had a public falling out with Davis.

In 2000, Ralph Nader got 418,000 votes in California. He has stumped for Camejo, and an adviser says he'll do it again before the election.

10. Massachusetts governor

Democratic nominee TBD (primary is September 17) Businessman Mitt Romney (R) Jill Stein (Green) Carla Howell (Libertarian)

Stein, a 52-year-old physician from Lexington, is best known for her environmental advocacy and her work for Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign.

Voters in the Bay State approved a Clean Elections law in 2000, setting up a mechanism to fund candidates who adhered to strict campaign contribution limits.

But Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran, a Democrat, said the state didn't have enough money to fund the program. Earlier this year, the state's top court forced the legislature to sell its own possessions (furniture, etc.), to try to build a cash reserve for qualified candidates.

Stein's campaign looked to be the chief beneficiary, and the resulting publicity and ill will widened the chasm between Massachusetts Greens and Massachusetts Democrats. Stein wound up not getting enough signatures to qualify for the public funding.

Because Republican Mitt Romney is running strongly in this heavily Democratic state, Democrats will need every liberal to turn out in favor of their nominee come election day. But Ralph Nader got 173,000 votes here, and Stein counts on at least half of them to vote for her. Republican Paul Cellucci beat Democrat Scott Harshbarger for governor by just 65,000 votes in 1998.

Romney, meanwhile, will most likely lose votes to Carla Howell, an articulate Libertarian who received 12 percent of the statewide vote against Senator Ted Kennedy in 2000 (though Republicans did not field a credible challenger to Kennedy that year, so Howell likely picked up some GOP votes). Howell also is leading the statewide campaign for a ballot imitative to repeal the state income tax, and her campaign expects to be able to run a series of television ads in the waning days.

Depending on which Democrat secures the nomination and how they run against Romney, either one of these third-party candidates could tip the race.

11. Illinois governor

Congressman Rod Blagojevich (D) Attorney General Jim Ryan (R) Cal Skinner (Libertarian) Marisellis Brown (Independent)

A lesson for the two major parties: if you want the press to ignore a third-party candidate, don't do anything to draw attention to that candidate.

Take the case of the Libertarian Skinner: Republicans tried to keep him off the ballot by challenging his signatures. Elections officials found that Skinner's petitions for candidacy was indeed valid. Republicans said that a bout of fraud in 1998 provoked their contest. The press reported the snafu, and Skinner's campaign got a bump.

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