Madelyn Hoffman, the Green Party’s gubernatorial candidate in 1997 is running again, this time seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez.
Hoffman, who has spent the last 20 years working at New Jersey Peace Action, a non-profit seeking to promote peace and abolish nuclear war, is making war and peace her main issue in this year’s election.
But, she’s relying more on dissatisfaction with the status quo than she is on any one position, hoping to emulate the grassroots support earned by the 2016 campaigns of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and even President Donald Trump, she said.
“He spoke about economic policies that would more fairly distribute taxes, so you saw hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people come out to hear him,” Hoffman said, referring to Sanders. “So, I say there are a lot of people who are in the greens now who were associated with Bernie Sander’s campaign before.”
Putting it plainly, she’s running as a change candidate, and to her, the timing of the election is great.
The number of registered Green voters has double since 2016, and, like other candidates, she’s seeking to capitalize on the discontent that led Lisa McCormick to put forth a strong performance against Menendez in June’s primary.
McCormick won roughly 40% of the vote without campaigning or spending any money.
And, as it was for McCormick, money is comparatively tight for the Hoffman campaign. While she has started fundraising, she lacks the infrastructure to pull in numbers like those put up by Menendez or Republican candidate Bob Hugin, who is largely self-funding his campaign.
“Obviously, we’re not going to raise $6.5 million,” Hoffman said. “We don’t have the resources to do that. We could raise $30,000 or $35,000, but it’s all going to be done through small donations from individuals.”
That said, she isn’t without resources. Though it isn’t as large as the Democratic or Republican parties, the Green Party still has voter data of its own, and the party ran a gubernatorial candidate last year, so some of that data is guaranteed to be fresh.
Besides that, Hoffman will go door-to-door with Diane Moxley, the party’s candidate for Rep. Leonard Lance’s House seat, and other party candidates for lower-level office in the state.
Beyond that, she’ll attempt to leverage social media and livestreaming technology to connect with voters in a way she couldn’t 20 years ago.
However, only time will tell if it’ll be enough.