Wednesday, November 03, 2004

WHO WAS THAT NADER GUY?

A shorter version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
Nov. 3, 2004


So what happened to Ralph Nader in New Mexico?

Democrats state predicted doom and gloom if Nader, who ran this year as an independent, would be able to split the progressive vote. They fought tooth and nail in court — but ultimately unsuccessfully — to deny him a place on the ballot.

Apparently some Republicans here felt the same way. Sen. Rod Adair, R-Roswell, distributed ballot petitions for the Nader candidacy. GOP lawyer Pat Rogers volunteered his services to represent Nader free of charge in his court battles.

(Both Adair and Rogers insisted their only interest was providing a wide choice to New Mexico voters.)

Four years ago, when Democrat Al Gore edged out George W. Bush in the state by a mere 366 votes, Nader, who ran then as the Green Party candidate got more than 21,000 votes or four percent of the total.

However, by 1 a.m. Wednesday with more than 90 percent of the vote counted unofficial results showed Nader drawing only one percent of the vote. Nationwide he wasn't doing significantly better.

Nader’s New Mexico coordinator Carol Miller, interviewed Tuesday before the polls closed, said she thinks Nader was the victim of a “four-year dirty-trick campaign” by Democrats and a “blackout” by state news organizations.

“It’s one of the saddest moments in American history,” Miller said. “Taking Ralph Nader, a true national leader who has done so many good things, and tell so many lies about him.”

As far as media coverage goes, Miller said, “Nader was never treated like an equal candidate.”

Miller said the real agenda of Nader foes was “to get rid of anyone who stands up to the corporations.”

However a spokesman for the state Democratic Party said that Nader’s “Diminishing support reflects the fact that his campaign in New Mexico was nothing but a Republican phenomenon.”

Matt Farrauto noted that some Green Party leaders joined the Kerry campaign. These include David Bacon, the 2002 Green Party gubernatorial candidate, who changed party registration to Democrat; and Abe Gutmann, a past Green candidate for U.S. Senate who became a leader of a national group called Greens for Kerry.

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