Independence Party News

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Updated September 29, 2002

New State Committee Meets -
Sept. 22 -The newly elected State Committee met near Albany to reorganize as required by election law every two years. Frank MacKay was re-elected as State Chair, defeating Kipp Pells. Bill Bogardt defeated Dietrich Werner for re-election as Secretary, and Gary Temple was elected Treasurer without opposition. In a surprise move, Cathy Stewart proposed revising the rules to allow for an expanded Executive Committee consisting of five Vice-Chairs and fifteen at-large members, which were elected as slates. See the Contacts page for a complete list.

The Committee also agreed with Dave Ketchum's proposal to meet in mid-November should Tom Golisano come in first or second in November, and passed a resolution to investigate actions of the Board of Elections.

Golisano Wins Primary -
Sept. 10 - Tom Golisano has won the Independence Party primary for Governor, beating incumbent George Pataki by 9,572 to 9,076 (not yet oficial) and will now face Pataki, Carl McCall and several others in the November election. Incumbent Mary Donohue beat William Neild, however, for the Lieutenant Governor nomination, and will appear on both the Golisano and Pataki tickets in November.

Primary Back on Machines in NYC -
Sept. 4 - Contrary to an earlier report here, the September 10th primary for the Independence and Conservative Parties will be held on voting machines in New York City, not on paper ballots as originally announced by the Board of Elections. We are unsure of the reason for the reversal, whether voluntary by the board or due to court action.

The stated rationale for using paper ballots was to keep the cast ballot secret, since many election districts have only one or two voters each. Among other things, the Board originally cited a March 20th letter from Harry Kresky on behalf of the Independence Party, and they also said a hearing was held on April 9th to which all the minor party Chairs were invited.

Mahony and Hevesi Off Primary Ballot -
June - The State Board of Elections ruled that Dan Mahony and Alan Hevesi would be able to challenge Mary O. Donohue and John Faso for Lieutenant Governor and Comptroller, respectively, in an Independence Party primary on September 10th. The dispute was then taken to State Supreme Court by the Pataki campaign and the Independence Party leadership, which threw Mahony and Hevesi off the ballot. [Update: In late August, that ruling was upheld on appeal.]

In the meantime, the Golisano campaign petitioned to get William Neild on the primary ballot for Lieutenant Governor, as a stand-in for Mahony should the court appeal fail. The Pataki campaign is reportedly registering new party members in the hope that most will vote for him on September 10th. And Jeff Beller's attempt to get on the ballot for Lt. Governor by petition did not succeed.

Convention Held in Brooklyn -
May 19 - The Independence Party State Committee met on May 18-19 to endorse statewide candidates and conduct other business. George Pataki received 67.27% of the weighted vote for Governor, while Thomas Golisano received 31.8%, setting up a September primary between the two. Carl McCall and Jeff Beller split the few remaining votes.

In the vote for the Lieutenant Governor nomination incumbent Mary O. Donohue received 69.27% against Golisano's choice of running mate, Conservative Party member Dan Mahony, who got 28.85%. Mahony, however, was denied a "Wilson-Pakula" authorization to run. Because of that, it's unclear if there will be a primary for that office; the committee authorized joining a lawsuit to be filed by the Pataki campaign to keep Mahony off the primary ballot. Governor and Lt. Governor are nominated separately in the primary, but run as a ticket in the November general election.

Republican John Faso received 72.4% of the vote for the Comptroller nomination. Democrat Alan Hevesi received 25.4%, but in a situation similar to Mahony, was also denied a certificate of authorization.

Incumbent Democrat Eliot Spitzer was unanimously nominated for Attorney General. There were no other candidates.

In other business, a rules change was passed allowing the party's State Executive Committee to authorize certain non-member candidacies in districts in unorganized counties.

For reprints of convention photos, contact

Pataki and Golisano to Contest Independence Line -
April - Governor Pataki has sent a letter to Independence Party State Committee members expressing hope that he will have the party's support this fall, saying it is "an honor I will fight for".

Later, Lt. Governor Mary Donohue also sent a letter reporting the passage by the Senate of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow legislation by initiative and referendum in New York.

Then, on May 1, Thomas Golisano announced his candidacy for Governor, saying that he will attempt to wage a primary against Governor Pataki for the Independence line. He is also exploring the possiblilty of obtaining the endorsements of other parties, and will probably obtain an independent line as well.

Governor at Syracuse Independence Event -
April 24 - Over 250 people attended the annual Onondaga County Independence Party Event featuring a speech by Governor Pataki. Click here to read a full report by event host Brian Kaiser.

Governor's Race Heats Up -
March - There now appear to be two contenders with strong support in the Independence Party in the race for Governor. Both George Pataki, the two-term incumbent, and Thomas Golisano, his two-time challenger on the Independence line, appear to have enough support to force a primary, if either of them wants it. Neither has yet officially announced, but there's no doubt both camps have been working hard behind the scenes to line up support. Other candidates seem to have significantly less support so far.

The party's nominee will be chosen by the State Committee at a convention scheduled for May 17-19 at the Brooklyn Marriott. If more than one candidate gets at least 25% of the weighted vote, there will be a primary in September during which all enrolled party members may vote. A candidate can also get on to the September ballot by submitting well over 10,000 petition signatures.

Party Still Growing Fast -
The April 1, 2002 figures from the Board of Elections show the Independence Party continuing to grow at a rapid pace. There are now 217,930 party members, an increase of more than 15,000, or 7.6%, over the count from the previous year. This compares to an overall increase in registered voters of 1.1% during the same period. The Democrats grew by 1.6%, the Republicans by just 0.2%, and independents ("blanks") by 0.6%. The only parties growing faster are the relatively new Green and Working Families Parties, but together they have less than 20% of the enrollment of the Independence Party.

2001 Election Results -
The bright spot in these off-year elections was the winning campaign of Marcia Janowski, who was elected to the Town Board of Vernon in Oneida County. Also winning, with Republican cross-endorsement, was Babylon Town Councilman Lindsay Henry in Suffolk County. In Utica, long-time party activist James Zecca received the cross-endorsement of the Republicans for City Council and came in a respectable second to the Democratic winner. To the best of our knowledge, most other candidates received from approximately 1% to 5% on the Independence line.

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