The Green Party’s District Attorney candidate is looking on the bright side after a lopsided loss on Nov. 6 to incumbent Lynn Abraham.
Despite only receiving six percent of the vote compared to Abraham’s runaway 67 percent, Richard Ash is only taking the positives from the race.
“[The Green Party] did great, really fantastic,” he said. “To me, it shows that with our limited resources we were in the process of gaining the confidence of the voting public.” According to the party’s Web site, www.gpop.org, about 50 people worked on Ash’s campaign, which functioned on limited funds, derived mainly from donations.
Ash believed his campaign sowed the seeds for a stronger Green Party showing in future Philadelphia elections, “because what you have is an exponential effect; more people come forward each campaign and you gain more supporters.”
Ash felt the 11,341 votes he received showed that the “Green Party is going in the right direction and will keep getting better.”
He pointed out that he received a “positive” response during a recent visit to Temple.
“A lot of [students] were excited. A lot of them voted Green when they saw there was an alternative to Lynn Abraham. They thought that was great.”
While he felt that “public attention was not focused” on the elections due to the Sept. 11 attacks, he also felt that light media coverage of the candidates may have hurt his chances. Ash believed that the full impact of the African-American vote — a key demographic in his campaign — was not felt because they did not want to vote for Abraham, but were also unwilling to vote for a non-Democratic candidate.
Ash, of course, was “extremely disappointed” with Abraham’s victory, but he also sees this as an opportunity for a third party in Philadelphia. He noted that combined, both he and the other independent candidate Leon Williams earned a greater percentage of the vote than the Republican challenger Joseph Bongiovanni. Williams earned 21,941 votes to Bongiovanni’s 27,155 votes.
“This shows a lack of interest in Republican Party in the city or a failure of Republicans to provide necessary resources to [Bongiovanni],” he said. Ash considered this weakness in the Republican Party an opening for a third party. He likes the Green Party’s chances to become the Democrat’s main opponent.
“This city needs a new party,” he said.
As for Ash’s political future, he said it would be “up to the Green Party” to decide whether he would run again.
“The issue is not one candidate, it’s the ideas. The important thing is the ideas,” he said. “We’re not trying to build rock stars. We’re trying to build a party and ideas.”
Ash remains willing to continue building the party in his hometown. “I’m enthusiastic with helping the next election, giving any help I can.”