Nader: Nada in Nevada

Published July 8, 2004 2:39PM (EDT)

Politics1 reports today that Ralph Nader will likely not appear on the Nevada ballot, and it's his own fault. "A group named Nevada Independents -- on their own initiative -- in May collected about 4,800 signatures on petitions to place Ralph Nader on the state's Presidential ballot. As Nader had yet to name a running mate when they began their efforts, they didn't list any running mate. That voided all those petitions under Nevada law. Organizer Stan Vaughan then began again in early June with a surrogate candidate for VP on the new petitions, in order to meet the legal requirements."

"According to Vaughan, they collected over 14,000 signatures -- far more than the 5,000 required by the July 9 filing deadline. Yet, when Nader's national campaign learned of the group's efforts in mid-June, they explicitly disavowed them. 'They're acting on their own...They're collecting signatures for somebody who's not really running [for VP]. We disavow that activity,' said Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese. The comments were especially odd as Nader's campaign had itself been using a surrogate VP candidate in other states. What explains the strangely arrogant conduct from the Nader camp? Answer: Nader apparently thought he would get on the Nevada ballot as the Green nominee -- so he figured he didn't need Vaughan's group -- but then Nader failed to win the Green nomination. In the interim, Nader also picked financial executive Peter Camejo (Green-CA) as his official VP runningmate last month. That move angered the Nevada Independents, who explicitly reject Camejo as 'unacceptable' and 'a commie.' Vaughan told Politics1 that the Nader campaign desperately contacted the group a few days ago to see if they could now use the petitions that Nader had previously disavowed. 'Nevada Independents disavow Ralph Nader after his selection of Peter Camejo as a Vice Presidential choice...Nader with Camejo now seems too radical even for the diverse radicals in the US...Nader will not be on the Nevada ballot...The treatment of Nevada Independents by the Nader campaign may spell a possible victory for Kerry in the state,' explained Vaughan."

We wonder what's more interesting in this story, Nader's hubris or the fact that his former supporters are worried about Kerry taking Nevada.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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