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Thursday, August 10, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM


Green candidate aims for Democrats' votes

Seattle Times staff reporter

Green Party candidate Aaron Dixon said Wednesday that a Republican victory in the state's U.S. Senate race would prove a central point of his campaign: that voters need more choices at the ballot box.

Dixon's comments came a day after Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman lost a primary race in Connecticut to multi-millionaire Ned Lamont, who made Lieberman's support of the Iraq war a key part of the race.

Dixon, a former member of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party who later founded a nonprofit to help young people, said he was running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell to win.

But Dixon said he wouldn't be unhappy if his anti-war position siphoned enough disaffected Democrats away from Cantwell — who voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq in 2002 — and helped Republican candidate Mike McGavick, who also has supported the war.

There is no difference between Cantwell and McGavick, Dixon said, and a GOP victory would send a powerful signal to the Democratic Party.

"The Democratic Party has not served the interests of the American people," Dixon said. "The Democratic Party needs to begin to separate themselves from the Republican Party."

Asked whether he expected to hear from angry progressives if Democrats lost the Senate seat, Dixon replied: "They need to look at themselves. I can take any criticism that comes my way. We need more choices for people."

From April to June, Dixon raised about $20,000 and has about $10,000 after expenses, according to the Federal Election Commission. Among his contributors are Seattle School Board President Brita Butler-Wall, who gave $260, and Amy Hagopian, president of the Garfield High School PTSA. A longtime critic of military recruiting on high-school campuses, Hagopian contributed $210.

Kelly Steele, spokesman for the state Democratic Party, said a McGavick victory "would be a victory for George W. Bush, no one else."

Noting that the Green Party traditionally represented itself as dedicated to environmental protection, Steele said: "We are talking about a gaping chasm between Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick on the environment."

Dixon was unmoved by Cantwell's environmental record, which includes opposition to Republican plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. McGavick supports drilling in the refuge.

"Maria has supported the war, and the war has created a tremendous environmental destruction in Iraq," Dixon said.

Dixon wasn't the only statewide candidate talking about the Connecticut race Wednesday.

Cantwell released a short statement saying she would support Lamont despite Lieberman's plan to stay in the race as an independent.

McGavick said Lieberman was a victim of partisan politics and that he and his wife would be sending personal checks to Lieberman's campaign.

Alex Fryer: 206-464-8124 or

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company



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