Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has announced that she has qualified for federal matching funds, something no presidential candidate from her party has done before.
To receive federal campaign funds, a candidate must raise at least $5,000 in each of 20 or more states. If a candidate qualifies, the Federal Elections Commission will match the first $250 contributed by each individual donor. (The public financing system is funded by an optional $3 check-off box on federal tax returns.)
According to her campaign, Stein hit the necessary threshold in 22 states. And it wasn't easy; in a statement to supporters, Stein said that, with a week to go until the June 30 deadline, her campaign had only met the required $5,000 minimum in 10 of the necessary 20 states but was able to pull off a victory thanks to an aggressive fundraising effort.
"I'm especially grateful for the support we received from the peace community, from Medicare for All advocates, and the drug policy reform community," Stein said. "They made it clear that they needed a voice in the 2012 presidential race, and that we were the only ones who could provide it."
Stein's platform centers on what she calls a "Green New Deal." It calls for federal job creation in sustainable, environmentally sound fields; a moratorium on home foreclosures; free higher education; and a serious commitment to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change.
Stein also supports a single-payer healthcare system. In response to last month's ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act, the candidate reiterated her call for a government-run "Medicare for All" healthcare plan.
"Obamacare is based on Romneycare, and as with so much else, Obama implemented a Republican scheme to impose mandates that are a regressive tax on working people," she said. "The Roberts Court may call it constitutional, but the mandate is still bad news for our suffering millions. Romneycare has meant that the working poor have seen a health cost increase ten times that of the wealthy."
Stein has received the most financial support in Massachusetts—no surprise, as the long-time Green activist and physician lives in Lexington and has previously been her party's candidate for governor (twice) and secretary of the commonwealth. As of July 1, her campaign says, Stein had received $19,604.16 in contributions from Massachusetts donors. Her next strongest showings were in New York (just shy of $19,000) and Connecticut (about $17,800).
At deadline, the campaign had submitted an application for matching funds with the FEC, which will now audit Stein's fundraising figures. In six states, Stein met the $5,000 minimum by the skin of her teeth; last week, her campaign was asking for additional contributions in those states to help ensure she'd met the necessary figure.
"The surge of support in the matching funds campaign arose despite the constant diet of Obama/Romney that the corporate media is feeding the American people," Stein said. "People are hungry for alternatives—they want to hear about the solutions that are being kept off the table by the establishment parties. They want real debates, not stage-managed squabbles between two defenders of war and Wall Street. They want the truth."
The candidate used her thank-you message to rev up backers, describing her ability to meet the public financing requirement as a sign of a changing political landscape. "Our achievement is another sign that the spirit of democracy and justice is alive and well in America. It is rising up in the continuing fight for health care as a human right, in student strikes for affordable higher education and the forgiving of college debt, in eviction blockades, Occupy Movement, and the fight of workers for jobs and living wages and the right to form unions, and in growing mass civil disobedience to protect our imperiled climate future," Stein said.
The Greens hold their national convention in Baltimore this week. Stein has the most delegates locked up going into the convention, and is expected to win the party's presidential nomination. The presumed runner-up is comedian and former sitcom star Roseanne Barr, who has secured 84 delegates to Stein's 205, according to the national party.