New York Times
Green Party Candidate Finds He's a Republican
By Sam Howe Verhovek
August 8, 2001
Young S. Han, who graduated from Mountlake Terrace
High School in suburban Seattle two months ago and was a volunteer
for Ralph Nader last fall, describes himself this way: "I'm just an
idealistic guy out there that wants to make some changes."
So early last month, just as he was flirting with the
idea of running as a Green Party candidate for the Legislature, the
18-year-old Mr. Han was flattered to get an e-mail note from a man
named Stan Shore encouraging him to go for it.
Mr. Shore showed up several days later to help
organize a "legislative district convention" at which Mr. Han's name
was put in nomination. Mr. Shore paid for the hotel room where it
was held. He brought doughnuts for the two dozen delegates.
And several days after that, Mr. Shore returned to
take Mr. Han out to lunch at Red Robin, a local hamburger chain, and
persuade him to take the final step of filing his declaration papers
with the state. Mr. Shore wrote out a campaign donation for $250.
"He seemed really decent," the teenager recalled. "He
said he was this guy who wanted to help take down the
But whatever passion Mr. Shore may have exhibited for
the Green Party, he is in fact a longtime campaign consultant for
Washington Republicans. And here, in a part of the country where the
Green Party has the proven ability to siphon votes from Democrats in
close races, Mr. Shore, who never identified himself as a Republican
consultant to Mr. Han, now says that is exactly what he hopes will
happen. Gary Settle for The New York Times Young S. Han, a Green
Party candidate, returned a $250 campaign donation to a Republican
who he said only wanted to hurt Democrats.
"This is like the friendship treaty between Russia and
China," Mr. Shore said today of his role in helping the Greens.
"There are some commonalities of interest here."
Mr. Shore's role in the state legislative race, and
that of his wife in a similar situation in a county race in Seattle,
are at the center of a growing political fracas featuring
accusations by the Green Party that Republicans have been
infiltrating their ranks and cries of shame and foul by Democrats.
In Mr. Han's case, the seat he seeks in the Seattle
suburbs in a special election next month is hugely important to both
major parties: with the state House split, 49 to 49, control of the
chamber is at stake. There are two Democrats vying in a Sept. 18
primary to face Joe Marine, a Republican. If Mr. Marine, who was
appointed to the seat last year after the incumbent stepped down,
loses, the Democrats will be in the majority.
The Greens and the Democrats have accused the
Republicans of hypocrisy for aiding Mr. Han and another Green
candidate in the Seattle county race, Michael Jepson, 21, who had no
prior involvement with the party.
The Republican state chairman, Chris Vance, disavowed
any advance knowledge of Mr. Shore's tactics, but said today that he
had no reason to condemn them.
"I feel like that character in `Casablanca' who says
he's shocked to discover gambling going on," Mr. Vance said in a
telephone interview. "What a surprise! Politics is involved in
politics. Getting the right mixture of candidates on the ballot is a
tactic that goes back to the first parliamentary elections in
England. It is a standard tactic."
That assertion drew outrage from Democrats.
"Business as usual? I'm frankly shocked by how
matter-of-fact they are about it," said Jim Kainber, the executive
director of the Washington Democratic Party. "It's not appropriate.
It's not ethical."
To which Mr. Vance replied: "Oh, please! They're not
shocked by it at all. I believe the Democrats have on occasion gone
out and made sure Libertarians were on the ballot in the belief that
that would harm Republican candidates."
However common the recruiting tactic, and whatever its
propriety, the incident has embittered Mr. Han, though it has not
driven him out of the race or led him to heed entreaties that he
endorse a Democrat.
He has delayed his plans to enter Whittier College in
the fall, planning instead to wage a vigorous campaign and clinging
to what he admits is probably the quixotic hope that he can parlay
the controversy into victory this fall.
Whatever happens, he said he has learned a hard
"Look, I know politics is very messy," Mr. Han said in
an interview today. "But to use people as pawns in this absurd
political game, I think it's appalling that that goes on. It's an
affront to democracy. It's been an emotional bombshell for me."
Mr. Han favors an instant runoff voting system that
would eliminate the sort of anxiety that many supporters of Ralph
Nader, the Green presidential candidate last year, felt when they
wondered whether their votes could tip the election to George W.
Bush. Under that runoff system, used in some European countries,
voters select their candidates in order of preference.
But there is at least one thing Mr. Han feels better
about: he returned the $250 to Mr. Shore, whose company is based in
Olympia, the state capital. Taking the contribution, which amounted
to half Mr. Han's total fund-raising, never felt quite right to
begin with, he said. He added that he favored public financing of
"I have deep values; I'd never sell out for anything,"
Mr. Han said. "But still, I didn't feel comfortable taking that much
money. I mean, if someone gives you that much and then they call you
up, you've got to listen to them. I'm just a human being. Of course
you'd have a tendency to want to reciprocate toward them."