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Freedom Party Fills a Void in Governor's Race
Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino are not the only choices for Governor of New York. There is also a Freedom Party ticket featuring a Lieutenant Governor candidate from Buffalo. She is retired long-time Buffalo Public Schools teacher Eva M. Doyle. She's the running mate of Charles Barron who is currently a New York City Councilman.
The Freedom Party has roots in 1960s Mississippi where it was formed at a time when African-Americans were severely under-represented in government. Some minorities in New York see a somewhat similar situation now with the major parties in the state fielding all-white-male tickets in the governor's race.
Doyle has never held public office but she decided to run now because she feels the major party candidates are not addressing the issues that matter most to urban New Yorkers. "I'm not hearing about the high unemployment rate of young black males for example. I'm not hearing about the fact that we have a large, almost 50% dropout rate among African-American males, and the tremendous violence," says Doyle.
African-Americans have generally tended to vote Democrat but Freedom Party backer and Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant says the Democratic Party needs to earn that support. "They take the black Democratic votes for granted. We said no more are we going to allow that. You don't talk to us and we're not part of the platform, and we're not part of your slate then we're going to go around you and we're going to empower ourselves," says Grant.
The Freedom Party doesn't expect it will actually win this year's race for governor. Grant says the goal isn't the "gold" but the "bronze". In other words, the goal is to establish the Freedom Party as a viable third party. The Freedom Party will need 50,000 votes in this election to stay on the ballot in future elections. Freedom Party members are encouraged by the fact they collected 45,000 signatures to get on this November's ballot when the party only needed 15,000 signatures.
Freedom Party members say they won't feel bad if their party's presence hurts Democrat Andrew Cuomo in this year's election. "There are three million more Democrats in New York State than Republicans," explains Doyle, "I think that it's incumbent on Mr. Cuomo to get his message out to capture those votes. That's on him."
If you want to learn more about the Freedom Party, the Buffalo contingent meets on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. at 179 East Ferry Street in Buffalo.