Michigan GOP helps Nader

Published July 9, 2004 1:44PM (EDT)

Ralph Nader seems determined to make the ballot in this election year's crucial swing states. So determined, in fact, that he's once again accepting Republican help to do it, this time in Michigan, where state GOP leaders are happy to help the would-be spoiler gather signatures. The Associated Press reports: "'It's another example of state Republicans willing to try every unethical trick in the book to hold power,' Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer said Thursday. 'This clearly shows that a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote to re-elect George Bush. The Republicans know that, and that's why they are desperate to have Nader on the Michigan ballot.'

"Greg McNeilly of the state Republican Party said the GOP is doing nothing wrong and hopes Nader will draw votes from the Democratic candidate. Republicans will make sure Nader has more than the 30,000 valid signatures he needs by July 15 to qualify for the Michigan ballot, McNeilly said.

"'Unlike the Democratic Party, where 'D' stands for disenfranchisement, we want voters to have choices,' he said.

"Brewer sent a letter to Nader on Thursday asking that he refuse the GOP's assistance and any petition signatures collected by the Republican Party, its staff or volunteers. 'We're not out there focusing on getting Libertarians on the ballot,' Brewer said. 'If the Republicans refuse to stop their efforts and Nader accepts their help, we will have no choice but to oppose his petition effort, review every signature and challenge his petitions if they are insufficient in any way.'" But considering the Nader campaign's recent behavior in Arizona and Oregon, it's unlikely that the perennial third-party candidate will back down this time around.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

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

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