The Green Party nomination for the US House of Representatives will be on the ballot paper on Saturday, with a big win for a new generation of grassroots campaigners.
For the first time, the US is entering a new era in which a candidate is selected by the national party with a mandate to deliver on the party’s agenda.
Michelle DONATO, who ran for Congress in 2018, has been making a career of campaigning for social justice and environmental protection, but her campaign has been dogged by questions about her financial background.
The former head of the Environmental Defense Fund and co-founder of the Earthworks organisation has raised more than $600,000 for the party.
The Greens say they are committed to a “progressive politics based on equality and sustainability”, and they have set up a fundraising committee to support Ms Donato, whose nomination has been opposed by both the Green and Libertarian parties.
Ms Donatos campaign has also been accused of being a PR stunt by her opponents.
“It’s a complete fabrication,” Ms Donatto said.
“The Green Party has been the only major party that has stood up to corporate power and corporations for the past 15 years.”
It has been a difficult year for the Greens, who have been the target of a relentless onslaught of attack ads from Republican candidates.
Last week the Republican Party of Florida, which controls the House, sent out an email to its members claiming Ms Donats campaign had “lost millions of dollars”, according to the Florida Daily News.
Ms DONATOs supporters have also accused the party of trying to rig the primary to favour Republicans and a handful of other candidates.
The party responded to this by accusing the Florida Republican Party “of intentionally targeting and distorting the results of our party’s primary election”.
The party said it was “concerned” about the allegations, and the Green party responded by releasing an open letter to Florida Republican members.
Mr Donato has also faced criticism for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby for an expansion of the federal power to regulate carbon emissions.
Ms DOATO is now focused on a more direct fight for climate justice, with her new campaign focused on issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking, water, and public lands.
But in an interview with the BBC, she said the party is now looking at other candidates for the seat.
“We are going to look at a lot of different candidates and we’re not necessarily trying to pick one candidate out,” she said.
The Greens have been a thorn in the side of the Republican party, which has attacked them as anti-environmental and pro-business.
The GOP also attacked Ms Donatos support for a $10-per-hour minimum wage for women.
“It is clear that we are facing a climate crisis and we have the responsibility to address it,” she added.
“That’s why we need to work together to make climate justice a reality.”
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