Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones likes his chances in the race for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
Sure, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias may not be worried about third party candidates spoiling his chance to take advantage of Republican Mark Kirk’s recent problems in the race. But Jones is even less concerned about the possibility of spoiling Democrats’ chances to hold Obama’s old seat — and says he could win this thing.
“I don’t know how you spoil something that’s already rotten,” Jones told TPM.Jones has been getting some attention after a PPP survey showed him polling at a surprising 14% in a matchup against State Treasurer Giannoulias and Rep. Kirk, who took 31% and 30% of the vote, respectively.
“I was surprised it happened this early. I was not surprised that it happened,” Jones told TPM. He explained that he needs “a third of the conservative vote” and “three quarters of the African-American vote” in order to have a shot at winning the general election. Jones, who is African-American, was confident that this is possible in a race “with two non-African-Americans.”
Democrat Carol Mosely-Braun won this same Senate seat in a race against two white opponents in 1993, becoming the first female African-American senator.
Jones balked at the suggestion that he may spoil the race for Giannoulias, saying that Kirk is going “to have his own issues” with challengers from the right. And according to the Bloomington Pantagraph, the other third party challengers who filed before yesterday’s deadline are many:
Libertarian Mike Labno, Randy Stufflebeam of the Constitution Party, Carl Officer of the Practical party and Andy Martin of the Illinois Reform party. Those filing as independents include Christopher Pedersen, Will Boyd, Shon-Tiyon “Santiago” Horton, and Corey Dabney.
“The more the merrier,” a Giannoulias spokesman told TPM this week.
Jones says he’s confident, and noted that having the backing of the Democratic establishment and the White House doesn’t mean much after Scott Brown’s win and Arlen Specter’s loss. “The President has supported a lot of Democratic candidates,” Jones said, but the “coattail” effect does not appear to be a factor.
He added that if the voters “believe Alexi Giannoulias is the real deal,” they’ll vote for him.
Full disclosure: A 2002 television movie called Our America, based on Jones’ work as a journalist, was written by my father, Gordon Rayfield.