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Green Party's Howie Hawkins likely to launch third campaign for NY governor

Green Party's Howie Hawkins likely to launch third campaign for NY governor

Syracuse Post-Standard, March 8, 2018

In the last two campaigns for governor, Hawkins pushed for a living wage for workers, a ban on fracking and a millionaires' tax - all positions that Cuomo later adopted as part of his platform.

In the 2014 election for governor, Hawkins received 184,419 votes, or about 5 percent of the statewide vote. It was enough to push the Green Party onto the fourth line of the New York ballot, surpassing the Independence and Working Families parties. 

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party leader from Syracuse who has run for public office without a victory 21 times, said Thursday he's leaning toward a 22nd campaign this year.

This time, Hawkins said, he will likely make a bid for New York governor. It would be his third consecutive attempt to defeat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who won in 2010 and 2014.

Hawkins, 65, said New York Green Party leaders approached him in January, encouraging him to run for governor. He said he's trying to assemble a campaign team and could announce in late March or early April.

"I'm getting the pieces together," Hawkins told syracuse.com on Thursday. "At this point, I'm still a few weeks away. But likely I will announce to seek the Green nomination."

Hawkins most recently campaigned as the Green Party candidate for Syracuse mayor last year. Of the five candidates on the ballot, he finished third with 4 percent of the vote.

Hawkins received more than 50,000 votes in both of his campaigns for governor, the minimum needed to keep the Green Party on the ballot for state and local races for the past eight years.

Hawkins said one difference this year will likely be the amount of time he can spend campaigning across the state. He retired last month from his longtime job at UPS in East Syracuse, where he has worked a night shift since the early 1990s.

"This time I'll be able to campaign full-time instead of having to go to work every night," Hawkins said.

In addition to his two previous campaigns for governor, Hawkins has run for U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, Syracuse mayor, Syracuse Common Council and city auditor.

Hawkins said the Green Party goal in the governor's race is to make sure the party has a ballot line for the next four years, providing a foundation for other Green candidates.

The election also serves as a chance to promote the party platform and push candidates like Cuomo to adopt some of the Green issues, Hawkins said.

In the last two campaigns for governor, Hawkins pushed for a living wage for workers, a ban on fracking and a millionaires' tax - all positions that Cuomo later adopted as part of his platform.

In the 2014 election for governor, Hawkins received 184,419 votes, or about 5 percent of the statewide vote. It was enough to push the Green Party onto the fourth line of the New York ballot, surpassing the Independence and Working Families parties. 

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