In one of the most hotly contested elections Saginaw County has witnessed in recent years, Roger Kahn was deemed to have defeated Democrat Carl Williams by 450 votes out of nearly 100,000 cast in the 32nd State Senate race in November.
When Green Party candidate Lloyd Clarke received more than 2,300 votes in the 32nd, Kahn took office with Williams defeating Kahn in Saginaw County, and being forced to survive a recount.
With the narrow victory of John Pappageorge over Democrat Andy Levin in the 13th State Senate race in Metro Detroit, in which the Green Party candidate received nearly 3,200 votes, it is possible that Democratic control of the State Senate was only prevented by the presence of the Greens in the races in the 13th and 32nd. (There is currently a 21-17 Republican majority in the Senate, down from 22-16 before the most recent elections). With Democratic victories in the 13th and 32nd, the State Senate would stand at 19-19, with tie votes broken by Democratic Lt. Governor John Cherry.
While Lloyd Clarke of Frankenmuth says he "used to be aligned with the Democrats", he will make no apologies for having his name on the ballot as a Green Party candidate.
"Bush is the most despicable president I've seen in my lifetime," says Clarke. "Bush's folly in Iraq has cost at least half a million Iraqi lives, and will cost American taxpayers at least two trillion dollars. And I didn't hear Williams speak out against the war. With all the advertising dollars Williams had, I didn't hear him once speak out against the war."
Clarke also said he was glad to have appeared on the ballot because he gave "2,000 people an alternative" in casting their votes.
"The Democrats and Republicans serve the same corporate masters. They won't stop the war. The capitalists control the banking and the oil in Iraq, and the Democrats haven't done anything to stop it. Both parties continue to exchange blood for oil"
Clarke also said he didn't see enough economic differences between Democrats and Republicans to not seek office as a Green.
"Bush has a maniacal focus in transferring wealth to the super-rich. While the cost of an education goes up, the value of an education goes down. There is high employment at Wal-Mart jobs. A lot of kids finish college and work for $7.00 an hour. The Democrats haven't fought this enough."
Clarke was asked if his party made a mistake by running a candidate in the 32nd where Carl Williams, the Democratic candidate, had established a liberal voting record and was a champion for the poor for six years in Lansing as the representative in the House. It would appear that in the eyes of the Green Party, Williams would be preferable to Kahn.
"The Democrats have a platform. The Green Party has a platform. I stand on the platform of the Green Party. That's why I ran. The Democrats just need to get more votes," Clarke said.
David Soule, the Green Party candidate for the Michigan U.S. Sensate seat that was retained by Democrat Debbie Stabenow by a commanding margin of 48-41 percent over Republican Michael Bouchard, echoed Clarke's sentiment that the Democrats need to get more votes.
Soule said the Green Party is "the only true anti-war party". He also contended that it is not clear that Williams would have defeated Kahn in the 32nd if Clarke had not run. "That assumption is not true. We don't know how people would have voted without Clarke in the race. A bigger problem is that half the people don't bother to vote," said the U.S. Senate candidate.
When Soule was asked if it made more sense to run Greens in races where the Democratic candidate was fairly conservative, and not run Greens when the Democratic candidate had a liberal voting record, Soule said he "did not want to comment on individual politicians."
The November elections are over. The Green Party didn't come close to winning an election in Michigan's state level or one for the U.S. Congress, but they very well may have influenced two state senate races in Michigan. Roger Kahn may owe his political career to Lloyd Clarke and the Greens. The Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court used Justice Tony Scalia's stunning 'logic' to call off the counting of votes in the state of Florida on December 13, 2000.
While George Bush (and the rest of us) have a Supreme Court to thank for his presidency, Roger Kahn may have the Green Party to thank for his state senate seat.
Tony Scalia has not apologized yet. The Green Party isn't ready to, either.
16th November, 2023