Democrats, Republicans and Bread and Roses? The New Socialist Party could be on the ballot in Maryland. – Baltimore Sun
Since the turn of the century, Maryland has had, within a few years, four political parties whose candidates automatically appear on the general election ballot: the Democrats, the Republicans, the Libertarians and the Greens.
A fifth could soon arrive.
The Bread and Roses party, a self-identified socialist group, is 227 certified signatures away from the 10,000 it needs to contest the ballot in Maryland. The party submitted 19,500 signatures to the Maryland Board of Elections and 9,773 were certified.
Leading the grassroots effort is Jerome Segal, 74, a Silver Springs resident, political activist and University of Maryland professor who challenged Ben Cardin in the June Democratic Senate primary. He hopes to get his name on the November ballot to challenge Cardin and then create a party that can run in multiple races in 2020.
The Maryland Board of Elections denied his request on August 29. In addition to being 227 votes out of 10,000, council officials told him that 1,200 signatures did not meet the state’s “name standard,” which is that signatures did not have of initials.
Segal last week filed a lawsuit in Federal Court asking a judge to order the council to reevaluate his rejection of his new party petition and put his name on the ballot.
Timing is critical, the lawsuit states. The board can begin printing ballots on September 17.
His lawsuit seeks to challenge “name standard” regulations as well as Maryland’s so-called “bad loser” law that seeks to prevent defeated primary candidates from appearing on the general election ballot.
The lawsuit argues that “substantial public interest is served by his admission to the ballot.”
Segal claims he is the first candidate “in American political history” to challenge an incumbent senator “because of his loyalty to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.”
Further, he adds, “There is no campaign in recent American political history that has been more idea-based and more deeply challenged conventional thinking than Dr. Segal’s campaign.”
Segal also argues that he would “suffer irreparable harm” if the court overturned the council’s dismissal.
While Segal writes in the lawsuit that his “candidacy is not motivated by financial considerations,” he claims he will suffer financial harm if he fails to get elected.
“If Segal does not appear on the ballot for the November election, Segal for the Senate is a defunct organization, with no ability to raise funds and no ability to repay its financial debt to Dr. Segal,” the lawsuit states. .
Debt is important.
Segal’s lawsuit says he loaned his campaign fund “more than $1.4 million of his own funds.” Federal campaign finance reports tracked by the nonprofit research group Open Secrets show he raised $13,442 through individual contributions, provided $1.17 million of his own money to the campaign and spent $1.15 million.
Meanwhile, state campaign finance reports show that an entity named ‘Jerome Segal’ spent nearly $56,000 in June 2018 on the media to support Ben Jealous, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. .
Still, even if he fails to run for office this year, he will have two years to secure the necessary signatures.
The Bread and Roses party will focus on promoting peace internationally and creating a decent and fair society at home, Segal said.
“We are socialist in our ideals but open to non-socialists and new socialists,” he said. “We believe in the old principles of socialism: from each according to his ability to each according to his need.”
He said a new party was needed because the Democrats and Green Party were not meeting the deeper needs of Maryland residents.
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“Americans crave something deeper,” Segal said. “We got sidetracked and no party explained what that would mean in terms of the public policy agenda. No one talks about beauty. No one is talking about access to America’s natural beauty and access to the beauty of urban spaces.
If recognized by the state Board of Elections, the Bread and Roses party would be the first new democratic socialist party established in the United States since 1973, according to Segal.
Jared DeMarinis, director of the Maryland State Board of Election’s nominating and campaign finance division, said he could not comment on Segal’s ongoing lawsuit. But he confirmed the party was close to gaining ballot access for 2020 – with just a few hundred more signatures and almost two years to get them.
“As a recognized political party, they could have ballot access for every race on the ballot, from county level to president,” DeMarinis said.
Virginia Rodino, co-chair of the Maryland Green Party, said her organization welcomes the new party, which she says will give voters more choice.
“Both corporate parties not only take our votes for granted, they believe they are entitled to them,” Rodino said. “Yet these parties are no longer relevant when the majority of Americans have repeatedly said they want universal health care, or money for education and jobs and not wars, or a reversing the climate crisis.The fact is, Americans really don’t want either of the two corporate party options.
Other political parties in the state either did not respond to a request for comment or declined to comment.