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E. Geoff Braasch (Ohio) Geoff Braasch

Geoff Braasch, 41, was an early announced candidate for the SP-USA Presidential nomination. He is also the Ohio State Party Chair, a labor and peace activist, a PhD candidate in the field of cultural anthropology at a theological seminary, openly gay, a former Lutheran pastor and labor consultant, and has never before been a candidate for political office. While he explains he has been a believer in the socialist cause since his college days, Braasch only joined the SP-USA in 2000. As for his platform, he said: "My politics are simple. Perhaps some people will find my politics too simple. I believe that we need to bring about by democratic means, a radically democratic socialist society. It is as simple as that ... To my knowledge, this kind of society has not existed in modern history, and no one will know the answers in advance of a democratic revolution." Braasch vowed that -- if nominated -- he would be "full-time" candidate for President. He was among the most active of candidates in the race -- but surprisingly withdraw from the race just two weeks before the October 2003 nominating convention.

Eric Chester Eric Chester (Massachusetts)

Retired college professor and author Eric Chester -- the SP-USA nominee for Vice President in 1996 -- was an unsuccessful candidate for the party's Presidential nomination in 2000. In 2002, he was the party's write-in nominee and "peace candidate" for Congress in a Massachusetts district. He was also an unsuccessful candidate in 2004 for President -- finishing second place -- at the national nominating convention. Chester was a student activist in the 1960s, and was arrested for non-violent civil disobedience demonstrations protesting the war in Vietnam. As a professor, he helped to organize the faculty union. Chester has been an active member of the SP-USA since 1980 and is also a member of the national board of the Industrial Workers of the World (the "Wobblies") radical labor union. Chester does not support the concept of the SP-USA forming alliances with liberal Democratic candidates: "For too long, working people and those who seek social change have settled for the lesser evil. Both mainstream political parties are funded and controlled by the big corporations. Voting for Democrats is a dead end ... Ultimately, only a democratic socialist transformation can move us out of the current impasse. Workers control, cooperation, grass-roots democracy, equality and social justice must replace competition, poverty and hierarchy. Instead of a capitalist market economy driven by production for profit we need to rapidly move toward a cooperative economy based on production for need through decentralized planning." Chester was vocal in his opposition to the Afghan and Iraq wars. He opposes GATT, NAFTA and other "globalization" trade agreements. He also vows to "challenge corporate power by proposing a steep tax on high incomes and large estates." Chester is part of the more stridently leftist faction within the SP-USA. While Chester was unsuccessful, his designated VP runningmate -- Mary Alice "Mal" Herbert won the SPUSA nomination for Vice President in 2004. Herbert has been a frequent candidate for state office under the banner of the Liberty Union Party, a democratic socialist party active only in Vermont. Another related link is Chester for Congress (2002 campaign site).

Donald "Don" Doumakes (Iowa) Don Doumakes

Party National Co-Chairperson Don Doumakes was a last minute entrant into the race for the SPUSA Presidential nomination -- jumping in just days before the nomination convention. He had been supporting Mary Cal Hollis, but decided to run when she abruptly quit the race. Doumakes -- a longtime socialist and peace activist -- is also a software developer and computer game designer. At the convention, Doumakes' main focus was a promise to fight email spam. He even maintains an anti-spam page. Doumakes previously ran for office in the past as a SPUSA candidate, making runs for Iowa State Treasurer (1982 - 2%) and Iowa City Council (1979 - 17%).

Barbara Garson (New York)

Barbara Garson -- a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and playwright -- was the SP-USA's replacement nominee for Vice President in 1992 (after the original nominee died). Both the Greens and the Socialists have tried unsuccessfully to draft this self-described "little old Jewish lady" in recent years to run for various offices. Undeterred by these past failures, there was a small activist group with the SP-USA that again attempted to organize a "Draft Garson" effort. They believed Garson was known by the media, respected by the left, could help build the party, and was an articulate speaker for the cause. She has a long record of activism on the left -- and was active in the anti-war and radical "free speech movement" in the 1960s. However, she did nothing to encourage the "Draft Garson" effort and it faded away in mid-2003. Other related links: The Witness: An Interview with Barbara Garson and ZNet Interviews Barbara Garson.

Mary Cal Hollis Mary Cal Hollis (Colorado)

Mary Cal Hollis, originally from Arkansas, is a self-described "stay-at-home mom" and former special education teacher. A former Democrat, she has also been active for many years on behalf of various leftist, peace and vegetarian causes. As the Socialist Party's Presidential nominee in 1996, she was on the ballot in five states, campaigned part-time, and captured just 4,300 votes. In 2000, she was the party's nominee for Vice President. Hollis has served on the SP-USA National Committee since 1994 and served as the party's National Co-Chair in 1994-98. Hollis admitted her campaign was not about being elected President, but instead was about spreading the party's message: "I think our major goal at this point is to get people to understand what [democratic] socialism is and what socialism isn't, and get people to not be afraid to talk about socialism and even admit that they are socialists. Also, the campaign is really valuable to bring out the records of the Democrats and Republicans, what they've done, and let people know that there are alternatives that have worked in other places." The SP-USA Platform is very similar that the platform of the Green Party -- and Hollis noted on her site that she's also been a Green Party member for many years. She unexpectedly withdrew from the race just days before the national nominating convention. Another related link is McReynolds-Hollis 2000 (2000 VP campaign).

Karen Kubby (Iowa) Karen Kubby

Karen Kubby -- a former City Councilwoman from Iowa City -- has served on the SP-USA National Committee since 1980. She also serves as Executive Director of an Iowa City abortion clinic -- and creates and sells pottery craftwork and jewelry. The same SP-USA folks who organized the "Draft McReynolds" campaign in 2000 -- plus McReynolds himself -- organized a "Draft Kubby" effort in early 2001. They thought that since Kubby had both a long record of democratic socialist feminist activism within the party -- and had been elected to office three times -- she would make an ideal candidate for 2004. Kubby, however, issued a statement in January 2002 politely declining to run (saying that she did not want to do anything that would interfere with the plans of her husband -- Democratic State Sen. Joe Bolkcom -- to possibly run for Congress in 2004). Instead, Kubby indicated that she is more inclined to run in 2008 or 2012. The same activists who tried to draft Kubby for President later suggested that she be the party's nominee for VP in 2004, as that would presumably allow her to have enough time to also campaign for her husband.

David McReynolds David McReynolds (New York)

David McReynolds -- who retired in 1999 after spending 38 years working as an organizer in the pacifist War Resisters League -- has also been active for many years on behalf of civil rights and socialist causes. He served two terms as National Co-Chair of the SP-USA and was twice a candidate for Congress. McReynolds likes to describe himself as "a badly read Marxist and a Gandhian pacifist" who "never found the perfect formula to blend Marx and Gandhi." As the 1980 SP-USA nominee, McReynolds -- with a Catholic nun as his Vice Presidential runningmate -- made history as the first openly gay person to ever win a party's Presidential nomination and appear on state election ballots. A veteran SP-USA activist, he agreed to make a second Presidential run in 2000 at the encouragement of a seemingly authentic "Draft McReynolds" campaign within the party. While still a dedicated democratic socialist, McReynolds is also more moderate than some others in the party -- as he's previously encouraged the formation of a broad coalition of left parties, labor unions, greens, progressive groups and even some more liberal Democrats to collectively achieve better results. His 2000 finish was an improvement upon the SP-USA showing from the 1996 election -- simply because was was on the ballot in more states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington). Born in 1929, McReynolds emailed Politics1 that we could also add to his profile: "Homosexual, no children. Lives with two Siamese cats in East Village since 1956. Religious Atheist." McReynolds' name was floated again as a possible candidate for 2004 after Kubby declined to run, but he also let it be known that he thought someone else should be the nominee.

Michael "Mike" Morrill (Pennsylvania) Michael Morrill

Some SP-USA activists floated the name of Mike Morrill as a possible Presidential nominee for 2004. Morrill was the Green Party's nominee for Pennsylvania Governor in 2002 (38,000 votes - 1%). He has also served as Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Consumer Action Network (PCAN) -- a labor-friendly consumer and environmental advocacy organization -- since its founding. His name faded from discussion within the SP-USA after others announced their candidacies for the nomination.

Lisa Weltman Lisa Weltman (Michigan)

School teacher Lisa Weltman, 39, was a late entrant into the Presidential nomination race, but was unsuccessful at the national nominating convention. She originally endorsed candidate Geoff Braasch -- and even worked on his campaign staff for a while -- but the two had a falling out over campaign strategies in Summer 2003. While Weltman still supported Braasch's "100 Days Program/15 Points" -- which Weltman said she co-authored -- she became annoyed that he skipped a bunch of SP-USA campaign events. At first, Weltman announced her candidacy for the party's Vice Presidential nomination. After Braasch was a no-show at the Michigan SP-USA in September 2003, Weltman jumped into the Presidential race. "It is important for the Socialist Party to nominate a candidate who comes from the working class and has proven ability to win workers and oppressed people to socialism and to build actions against oppression. I also think that it is important to nominate a candidate who stands on the SP program, including opposition to the Democrats and Republicans and a commitment to work for nothing less than socialism ... I feel I must again, for the benefit of offering comrades a clearly defined alternative, step forward," explained Weltman. She notes that she worked as a printer, a metal punch-press worker, a secretary, a longshoreman and a drapery maker for many years before she returned to school in the late 1990s to earn a college degree (note: she earned her B.A. in 2002 and completes her M.A. degree program in late 2003). Active in many left causes over the years, Weltman boasted that she became a Marxist at the age of 10 after reading the Communist Manifesto. This was her first run for political office.


Socialist Party USA (SP-USA) - Official National Site.
The Socialist - Official SP-USA Magazine.
Young People's Socialist League - SP-USA's Youth Organization.
VoteSocialist.org - Official SP-USA Campaign Clearinghouse



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