Alice Green is running as the Green Party candidate for mayor of Albany, NY. I’m quite pleased, even though we’re not related.
For those of you from out-of-town, a very quick, very light primer in Albany politics. Remember the Democratic machine of Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago? (I mean the elder Mayor Richard Daley; his son is the mayor now.
Well, Albany’s kinda like that. The last time a Republican was elected mayor was around the time Prohibition STARTED.
Like Chicago, this city was run by a powerful machine. For instance, one man, Erastus Corning, was mayor for over 40 years. And for most of that time, he wasn’t even the most powerful guy in the city. That would have been Dan O’Connell, the Democratic Party chair. I shan’t bore you with tales of the corrupting effect of one-party politics.
Erastus died in a Boston hospital in 1982 was replaced by a guy named Thomas Whalen, who seemed to try to make moderate changes in the system.
Then in 1993 came Jerry Jennings, who ran as an “outsider” and won. But soon he became the ultimate insider, and was challenged in the Democratic primary by a state assemblyman named Jack McEneny in 1997. Jerry beat Jack, and being the vindictive sort that he was, Jerry made sure that someone ran in the primary for the Assembly seat against Jack the next year. (Jack prevailed.)
In 2001, NO ONE ran against Jerry in the primary, and in this city, the primary IS the race.
In 2005, two guys with little name recognition are running against Jerry in the primary, and they haven’t a prayer. The Republican challenger is perennial candidate Joe Sullivan (think Harold Stassen.)
Now, Alice Green, long-time activist in issues of law and justice and a very familiar figure in these parts, comes out as a minor party challenger. It’s EXTREMELY unlikely that she will win either, but her entry will almost certainly mean that there will be a real campaign put forth by the incumbent, perhaps even with debates in the fall, and in THIS city, that’s progress.
For information on all the races, go here