Volume 76, Number 3 | June 7 - 13 2006

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Jonathan Tasini starts his petitioning effort at Union Square, supported by Cindy Sheehan

Tasini wants 15,000 signatures, 0 troops in Iraq

By Lincoln Anderson and Jefferson Siegel

Senate candidate Jonathan Tasini kicked off his petitioning effort to gather signatures to get on the ballot at Union Square on Tuesday morning, where he was joined by antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan. Tasini has to collect 15,000 signatures in the next five weeks to qualify for the ballot in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.

The incumbent, Hillary Clinton, is automatically on the ballot after she received the unanimous endorsement of the Democratic State Committee this week at their convention in Buffalo.

Tasini is backing an immediate pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq. At the convention, he managed to get the State Committee to support a resolution deeming the war “illegal” and calling for a pullout as soon “as practical.” While he had hoped for a resolution backing an immediate pullout, the resolution puts the State Democratic Party at odds with Clinton, who has not renounced her vote authorizing the war and has set no timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal.

“What I said from the very beginning of this campaign is, once we get out and actually talk to voters, Democratic primary voters in New York are going to find out where the incumbent stands on the issues,” Tasini said on Tuesday. “They’re going to find out that they have a senator who voted for the war, whose position is no different than Bush, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, who continues to support the war and vote for money for the war. She does not deserve re-election just on that basis.”

A Zogby poll of New York State voters found that when asked to choose between Clinton and an unnamed antiwar candidate, 38 percent supported the incumbent, 32 percent supported the antiwar candidate and the rest were not sure.

“I believe we’re going to get on the ballot, I believe we’re going to have a vigorous race and once we do, I think we’re going to shock the political establishment,” said Tasini.

Said Sheehan, whose son was killed serving in the Army in Iraq: “I think if the people of New York, when they get to hear Jonathan’s positions on everything, they will resonate with Jonathan, they will support Jonathan. Because Jonathan’s positions are not just New York’s but America’s. We don’t want the same leadership, we don’t want the same people who are leading the country down the path of disaster. I’m here because Jonathan resonates with my values and mostly the war is my issue. When we bring the troops home from Iraq we can start solving the terrible domestic problems that we have and also support a sane foreign policy. Hillary Clinton supports a disastrous foreign policy. I believe that Jonathan has a great chance and a vote for Jonathan is a vote for peace and a vote for sanity.”

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