The probability that California will go through a contested primary for a major political office (Senator) will surely create discussion over the direction of the party. California has the most registered Greens of any state and that fact alone gives meaning to any race. In the 2004, the national party had a difficult time coming to grips with the positions of two Californians, Peter Miguel Camejo who ran with Nader, and David Cobb. It still has not recovered and the fissures are quite deep.
There are three named candidates from Senate: Todd Chretien, Tian Harter and Kent Mesplay. Of those three, Todd's campaign seems to be the most advanced. He has an active web site. I have already had both telephone and mail solicitations of support. Harter and Mesplay are somewhat behind in this, though Tian has a web site and spoke about his campaign at his most recent Santa Clara County general meeting. I think that we will be hearing more from Kent shortly.
The contrast between Chretien and Mesplay is the most interesting to me. Todd makes no bones about his ISO background and membership.
Soon after, Todd joined the International Socialist Organization and has been an active member since.
At this point, he seems to be essentially a single issue candidate. That issue is the Iraq war and Feinstein's support of everything that progressives find wrong with it.
I would think that Mesplay would offer a strong contrast. While he has not yet done much with his campaign, based on what I saw from him as a presidential nominee, he will not be a single issue candidate, no matter how important that issue is. He will also not run from the position of being the most progressive candidate, but from being the Greenest candidate, relying on the full range of Green Values rather than just those that get progressives all excited.
I left out Tian, not because his candidacy is not valid, but because the contrast between Todd and Kent illustrates the basic discussion that needs to be taking place. What is the Green Party? Camejo said that
"The Green Party is the electoral expression of living mass movements, like the peace, women’s rights, gay and lesbian, social justice, civil rights and civil liberties movements."I think that Kent would hope to have a broader appeal. He did as a presidential candidate and I expect no less this time in running for the Senate.