ALBANY – Street justice activist Curtis Sliwa is the latest potential minor party candidate to consider joining the fray of the governor’s race.
“If I can get a clean bill of health, doctors who say to me that if you run you won’t drop dead . . . then I believe I have no other choice,” Sliwa said this week on his WABC radio show and posted on his Facebook page.
The Guardian Angels founder, radio host and sometimes political activist and candidate is considering a run on the Reform Party line. The state chapter of the national party draws a wide variety of voters from the left, right and middle so its impact on any major party candidate’s vote is hard to calculate.
Sliwa has long criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and the campaign would give Sliwa an additional platform to do so. But Sliwa’s celebrity power in New York City could attract the 50,000 votes needed to give the Reform Party an automatic line on ballots for the next four years, ending the expensive and difficult effort to securing thousands of signatures for petitions to be placed on ballots statewide.
Environmental activist Howie Hawkins did just that four years ago for the liberal Green Party, and he is running again this year. Last time, he attracted more than 184,000 votes and moved the party to the fourth line on the ballot, behind Democrats, Republicans and the liberal Working Families Party. Hawkins attracts liberal voters, and his appeal to them could hurt Cuomo or his Democratic primary opponent, activist and actress Cynthia Nixon, in November.
“Progressives need to raise our expectations and demand more,” Hawkins said. He is calling for single-payer health care for all, more school aid, a ban on new fossil fuel plants and pipelines, and “100 percent clean renewable energy within 15 years.”
Others are also in the hunt for potential minor party bids who could cut into the vote totals for Democratic and Republican nominees in a year in which polls show some of the electorate is grumpy with traditional politics.
Larry Sharpe is seeking to run as the Libertarian Party candidate. He is a businessman, an adjunct instructor in colleges, and a Marine Corps veteran. He seeks to bridge the left and right under the party that has long sought to protect individual rights and limit the power of government in the lives of citizens.
“The Democrats and the Republicans have changed – they’re not parties,” Sharpe said in his introductory video. “They are tribes . . . and now people have done politics by identity . . . and the other guy is evil.
“The actual values that they had are gone,” Sharpe said. Libertarians have, instead, maintained their values such as marriage equality, limited taxation and government seizure of land, among them, he said.
“We’re going to give New Yorkers the chance to realize those old parties? They don’t represent them anymore,” Sharpe said.
Joe Holland, a former state commission of the Department of Housing and Community Renewal and a former Academic All American football player at Cornell University, is seeking an independent run. A Harvard Law School graduate, he has practiced law in Harlem.
“The one overriding fact of this election year is Andrew Cuomo has failed as governor of this state, yielding the highest taxes in the nation, spawning the exodus of over 1 million good people over the past eight years and tarnishing the state’s reputation with headlines of corruption,” Holland said in a letter to voters. “I believe there is a better way.”