Texas third parties typically face an uphill battle during election years as they struggle to compete with the state’s two dominant parties. But a big shadow hangs over the state’s Green Party as members prepare for their state convention this weekend.
In order to get their candidates on the general election ballot without a petition, third parties must have at least one candidate win more than 5 percent of the vote in a statewide race during the previous election cycle. Libertarian petroleum engineer Mark Miller barely cleared that hurdle for his party in 2016, winning 5.3 percent of the vote in the race against Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian.
But the Green Party, which meets in Houston this weekend, didn’t hit the mark. Martina Salinas, who also ran for railroad commissioner, earned the biggest share of the party’s statewide votes at 3.2 percent.
“Martina getting 287 votes was a really big deal for us,” said Jan Richards, a Green Party of Texas candidate who’s running for governor. “We were very proud of her, but yes, it was disappointing we didn’t make the 5 percent.”