Document:California Press Release 31 March 1999 Green Party Victory Another Sign of Two-Party Collapse

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400 Capitol Mall, Suite 900
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-3941
For immediate release: March 31, 1999
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 506-0200

Green Party victory another sign of two-party collapse, Libertarians say

SACRAMENTO -- Green Party candidate Audie Bock's 292-vote victory in a special election for the 16th Assembly District seat yesterday comes as "no surprise" and "drives another nail into the two-party coffin," the Libertarian Party of California announced today.

"First came Jesse Ventura's victory in Minnesota last year, and now this. Libertarians have been predicting for some time that voters are becoming increasingly frustrated with the Democrats and Republicans, and yesterday's election demonstrated exactly that," said Libertarian state chairman Mark Hinkle.

The upset came as a shock to the Democratic Party establishment. Bock defeated former Oakland mayor Elihu Harris, who had previously served in the Assembly from 1979 to 1991 and had received support from local Bay Area political heavyweights, including San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

With all 153 precincts reporting, Bock received 14,357 votes (50.5%) to Harris's 14,065 (49.5%). An undetermined number of absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted today, and Bock is waiting for those ballots to be counted before declaring victory. If Bock maintains her lead, she will replace Don Perata, who was elected to the state Senate last year.

Ironically, in the February special primary Harris came within several hundred votes of avoiding a runoff, defeating two Democratic rivals with 48.75% of the vote. Bock received 8.72% in the primary. No Republican entered the race. The California Democratic Party reportedly spent $100,000 on Harris in the primary, including a controversial giveaway of free chicken dinners at a Democratic campaign event.

"This proves that the right circumstances combined with the right candidate can lead to victory for any third party," noted Hinkle. "Libertarians congratulate Audie Bock and, as voter frustration with the two major parties continues to worsen, we look forward to joining her in the Legislature very soon."

The Libertarian Party of California ran 38 Assembly candidates in last November's election compared with two Green Party candidates. Maureen Lindberg of San Bernardino, the Libertarian candidate for the 63rd Assembly District, received 26,622 votes (28.27%) in a two-way race against Assemblyman Bill Leonard -- the highest vote total for any third party Assembly candidate last year.