Local Green Party candidates disappointed but not deterred

Glens Falls, NY – The Green Party in Warren County had candidates on the ballot Tuesday in every race except judges and coroner.

"We tried really hard to put forward a physician assistant to run for coroner," said Matt Funiciello, the Green Party candidate in the 21st Congressional District.


The Post Star
By Maury Thompson
November 12, 2016


Local Green Party candidates are committed to continuing their full ballot strategy and expanding the party base, even though their share of the vote on Tuesday was less than what they had hoped.

"We don't have a choice but to move forward on the issues that are driving us," Funiciello said.

He said he fully expected to receive at least 22 percent of the vote on Tuesday, double his 11 percent showing in 2014.

On election night, he only received 4.38 percent of the vote.

"This was a very large disappointment," he said.

Funiciello said perhaps he became too optimistic based on the enthusiasm at his campaign events throughout the district.

Robin Barkenhagen, the Green Party candidate in the 114th Assembly District, received 12.31 percent of the vote, and Steve Ruzbacki, the Green Party candidate in the 45th Senate District, received 10 percent of the vote, both running in races with no Democratic candidate.

Disappointment cannot distract from determinism, Barkenhagen said.

The Warren County Green Party is working with Green Party members in Essex, Franklin, Washington and Saratoga counties to organize new chapters, Barkenhagen said.

"We are going to try to make sure by 2018 every county in CD (Congressional District) 21 has a county party organized," he said.

In the meantime, the Warren County Green Party Committee is endeavoring to field as many candidates as possible for municipal elections in 2017, and is encouraging members to volunteer on municipal planning, zoning and advisory boards, Barkenhagen said.

Green Party candidates take solace in the fact that party enrollment is increasing, and that the Green Party generally fared better in Warren County than in the rest of the state on Tuesday.

Warren County Green Party enrollment had increased by 56 people to 188 over the past two years, as of Nov. 1, according to the state Board of Elections.

The increase moved the Green Party into fifth place for enrollment among political parties in the county, ahead of the Working Families Party.

Funiciello received the highest number of votes and the highest percentage of votes, by far, of three Green Party congressional candidates in New York on Tuesday.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein received 2.8 percent of the vote in Warren County, double her statewide percentage of 1.4 percent.

Warren County had the second highest percentage for Stein in the state.

Similarly, Green Party U.S. Senate candidate Robin Laverne Wilson received 2.23 percent of the vote in Warren County, compared with 1.43 percent statewide.

Barkenhagen said his biggest disappointment was that 9,312 people in the 114th Assembly District cast ballots but did not vote for either Assembly candidate, leaving the column blank instead of selecting a candidate.

"The reason we run is so that they (incumbents) don't run unopposed," he said.

Funiciello said Republicans seemed less inclined this election than in 2014 to cross party lines to vote for him.

"You can see a lot of the Republicans who strayed over to our side last time around out of disgust with the two-party system were far more interested in (Donald) Trump and giving him the support down-ticket he needed," he said.