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The Empire

The other third party, on the left

Email a Friend the Green Party. Since their gubernatorial candidate got more than 50,00 votes yesterday, the Green Party will now have, for the next four years, a designated row on the ballot.

So, who is this newly established party?

They're self-identified progressives, who, in many ways, hold traditionally liberal fiscal and social positions. They fell out of favor with some voters after Ralph Nader ran for president on their line, spoiling Al Gore's Democratic bid. The presidential bid by controversial former Rep. Cynthia McKinney only further damaged the party.

But in New York, the party is back, thanks to Howie Hawkin's passionate performance in the only gubernatorial debate this year. And since Cuomo didn't face a serious challenge from his Republican opponent, a lot of voters were free to vote for one of the other candidates in order to make a statement.

Thus, the Green Party is back.

A spokesman for the Green Party told me they're not like the other progressive political party, the labor-backed Working Families Party, mainly because Greens want to run their own candidates. WFP often cross-endorses Democrats (and withhold their WFP line from Democrats as a form of punishment).

"Very few people in the party are fans of fusion voting," Green Party co-chair Eric Jones told me. "We try to run as many of our candidates as possible, rather than run just the same guy on a different line."

"When you look at the issues, we have a lot in common," with the WFP, sayd Jones. The agendas of the two parties are "almost identical" he said.

WFP executive director Dan Cantor emailed supporters this afternoon, reasserting his party's role as a guiding force to pull Democrats further left.

"The only force powerful enough to push back against an emboldened Fox News, corporate Republicans and overly-timid Democrats is you," Cantor wrote.