Progressives worry votes for Rozum could mean Buerkle win

Nov 5, 2012

The latest Siena College poll in the 24th Congressional District gives Green Party candidate Ursula Rozum support from 8 percent of likely voters. The question now is if Rozum will get enough votes to tilt the outcome between the major party candidates.

Ursula Rozum is running for Congress in New York's 24th District on the Green Party line.
Ursula Rozum is running for Congress in New York's 24th District on the Green Party line.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Some progressives in Syracuse have been upset that the Green Party put up a candidate in a race that will go down to the wire.

Maddis Senner has written letters to the editor, put up opinion pieces on the Syracuse Peace Council group email list, and generally complained loudly about the potential impact of Rozum.

He believes her candidacy will take votes away from Democrat Dan Maffei, ultimately hurting his chances in the race against Republican incumbent Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle. And he says many progressives in central New York agree.

"I think it's pretty widespread," he says. "I can't take a vote. People have told me they're not happy. People have said 'yeah, you're right.'"

Maddis believes, ultimately, progressive causes like poverty and climate change will lose ground if Buerkle wins.

Progressive Lorraine Mavins, who's worked on the Maffei campaign, agrees, adding that this close race magnifies the issue.

"I just think in this particular critical race, I don't think it's correct to divert votes from a viable candidate," he says.

The Buerkle and Maffei campaigns are generally mum on this issue, but the Greens disagree with the sentiment of some progressives.  Green Party elder Howie Hawkins has been working on Rozum's campaign.

"They need to realize if they want to support progressives, support Ursula," Hawkins says. "If they want to support the status quo, vote for Maffei. But don't tell us that we're taking votes from Maffei, because Maffei never had our votes."