RUNNING / FORMER CANDIDATES:
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 (Massachusetts)
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.
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).
"Don" Doumakes (Iowa)
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%).
Garson (New York)
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
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 -- 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.
McReynolds (New York)
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.
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 (Michigan)
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.
Party USA (SP-USA) - Official National Site.
- Official SP-USA Magazine.
Young People's Socialist
League - SP-USA's Youth Organization.
- Official SP-USA Campaign Clearinghouse