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Greens' Hawkins looks to party role beyond drawing protest votes

Howie Hawkins on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 in

Howie Hawkins on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 in Hempstead. The 2014 candidate for governor is looking to the Green Party's future. Credit: NEWSDAY / Audrey Tiernan

Howie Hawkins is realistic about the Green Party’s best-ever showing in a New York gubernatorial race, and what it needs to do to grow and become a factor in state politics.

Hawkins garnered 176,269 votes (5 percent) for governor, but noted that the Green candidate for attorney general received 76,697 votes, which is closer to the party’s base level of support, he said. Hawkins acknowledged the extra 100,000 votes he received were a “protest” vote by liberals and Democrats unhappy with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The task now, Hawkins said, is for the Greens to win a surprise contest or two.

“We have to start winning some big-city city council races or Assembly races to get beyond ‘spoiler’ status,” Hawkins said. He said Greens "can make headway with the hourly workers who just aren't voting" because of disillusionment with the major parties.

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