ALBANY – The Green Party is “Plan B” for progressives, gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins said Tuesday in kicking off the minor party’s general election campaign.
Hawkins said he is calling on progressives who supported Cynthia Nixon’s unsuccessful bid against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in last week’s Democratic primary to choose the Green Party as an alternative in November.
Hawkins also is seeking to recruit voters who supported other liberal candidates in the primaries such as lieutenant governor candidate Jumaane Williams and attorney general candidate Zephyr Teachout.
Hawkins said the Green Party offers a choice to liberals frustrated with Cuomo over the energy policy, single-payer health care, bail abolition and legalization of recreational marijuana.
“We’re Plan B for progressives who lost the primary,” Hawkins said. “We’re the real option for liberals dissatisfied with Cuomo.”
Hawkins, a retired United Parcel Service worker, was the Green Party candidate in 2014 when it garnered 184,419 votes, or about 5 percent of the vote – its best showing ever.
The minor party likely benefited from voters who perceived the race between Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Republican Rob Astorino wouldn’t be close and felt free to support a minor party, political observers said.
Besides marijuana and health care changes, Hawkins also has called for repealing the state’s property-tax cap, expanding rent-controlled apartments and eliminating “high stakes” testing to evaluate students, teachers and schools.