The Green Party of New Jersey has picked Madelyn Hoffman, a longtime environmental and social justice activist, as their candidate for U.S. Senate at their annual convention held remotely on Zoom on Saturday.
Hoffman, who was unopposed, becomes the candidate of a party that has experienced a 270% growth in voter registration in New Jersey since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.
New Jersey has 11,359 voters registered as members of the Green Party, up from 3,068 in November 2016.
Hoffman criticized incumbent Cory Booker, a Democrat who is seeking re-election after nearly seven years in the United States Senate, for his positions on education, environment and foreign policy.
“If you talk to people who live in Newark, they’ll tell you he changed Newark from relying on its public schools to relying on corporate charter schools,” Hoffman said. “He was mayor over a time when water in Newark was contaminated by lead. People in Newark were not satisfied at all with what he was doing.”
Hoffman said she also disagrees with Booker’s support of Israeli occupation of Palestine.
“It is something I care about deeply. I’ve visited the West Bank. I’m an advocate for human rights,” Hoffman said. “Not Palestinian rights only, but human rights.”
She said she had lobbied Booker to support the Iran nuclear deal.
“We had to push Senator Booker so hard and he only came out to vote for it when there were enough other votes to carry it,” Hoffman told the Green convention. “He didn’t put himself out there as somebody who was in the leadership of getting that Iran deal approved by the U.S. Senate Since then, he said he can’t guarantee that he would agree to another deal with Iran.”
Hoffman also criticized Booker for taking campaign contributions from special interests.
“He’s part of the Democratic Party machine in New Jersey,” she charged.
The 63-year-old Hoffman spent eighteen years as executive director of New Jersey Peace Action. She has been on the political scene for decades; in the 1980s she led the opposition to the Warren County trash incinerator project and headed the Grass Roots Environmental Organization (GREO).
This is Hoffman’s fifth bid for public office.
In 1996, she was the Green Party nominee for vice president on a ticket with Ralph Nader. Because of New Jersey’s early filing deadline for independent candidates – it was in April back then – Nader ran with Hoffman in New Jersey while running with Winona LaDuke in most states.
Bill Clinton carried New Jersey by a 54%-36% margin against Bob Dole, with Ross Perot winning 9%. Nader and Hoffman won 1% of the vote.
She ran for governor in 1997 and finished fifth in a field seven candidates with 0.44% of the vote. Incumbent Christine Todd Whitman was re-elected by 25,426 votes, 47%-46%. Hoffman received 10,703 votes.
She challenged Rep. Michael Pappas (R-Rocky Hill) in 1998 and won 1,409 votes (0.76%). Democrat Rush Holt unseated Pappas by a 50%-47% margin.
Hoffman returned to the ballot last year as the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate. She finished third in a field of seven candidates with 0.70% — 1,686,504 votes behind incumbent Bob Menendez.