"This year, I didn't want anyone [in the Green Party] to run for president because I thought we were wrongly blamed for what happened in 2000," says Patricia LaMarche.
Nonetheless, LaMarche is on the ballot in Pennsylvania and most states as the Greens' vice-presidential contender, teamed with David Cobb. She's just not campaigning like a candidate in this and other swing states, where Greens are encouraging voters to pick the Democrats' John Kerry and John Edwards. "I also thought it was extremely important for George Bush to lose," she says.
So why run at all?
"I didn't hear anything that mattered" from the Democrats, she says: "bringing the troops home, a living wage, affordable health care ..." And last year's Green spoiler, er, presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, was running anyway as an independent.
So the 43-year-old Yarmouth, Maine, resident, a former disc jockey at a "Toby Keith, boots in your butt, foot-stompin'" country music station -- as she puts it -- chose to run.
"I also think it's important for a woman to be involved," she says, since women are 51 percent of the population and head 70 percent of single-parent homes in poverty. To draw local attention to the homeless she spent two Sept. 21-Oct. 5 living in shelters or on the streets of many cities across the country.
"We're like this third-world country tacked onto the bottom of Canada," she says, lamenting national inattention to this and many other issues. "If Dick Cheney or John Edwards just called a press conference about poverty, they would have gotten more publicity."
There's one other reason LaMarche is running: More than 30 states (though not Pennsylvania) force parties to field presidential and vice presidential candidates if they want to get contenders for other posts on the ballot.
It would be a win of sorts, says LaMarche, for the party to see an increase among its membership (currently at half a million) and elected officials tally (210 currently; about 500 are running for office in this election).
To win the vote of progressives too afraid of Bush or any conservative to vote Green, LaMarche advocates instant run-off voting be allowed in future elections, which would allow people to list their first, second and perhaps third choice for president.
A "first-preference" vote for the Green candidate and a "second-preference" vote for a Democrat under this voting system would allow progressives to vote their conscience and still keep an undesired Republican from office. Instant run-off voting annually gives America the Oscar and Heisman Trophy winners, not to mention candidates for Utah Republican posts. "It's not that radical if Utah Republicans can handle it," she says. "If people got to think that their preferences matter they'd vote their preferences. Imagine if getting to the World Series was always [limited to] just two teams. Nobody would be interested in the baseball games."