Nader taps SF's Gonzalez as running mate

February 29, 2008 12:30:01 AM PST
San Francisco now has a leading role in the presidential campaign. Independent candidate Ralph Nader selected Matt Gonzalez, a former San Francisco city supervisor, to be his running mate. Reaction to Gonzalez as a potential vice president reverberated throughout City Hall Thursday.

"Today I am announcing my vice presidential running mate, who is Matt Gonzalez," said Ralph Nader.

"It is an honor for me to run with Mr. Nader. I hold him in very high esteem and I share his politics," said Matt Gonzalez, Independent candidate for Vice-President.

Gonzalez is a former San Francisco public defender and city supervisor. He ran for mayor in 2003 as a Green Party candidate, but lost to Gavin Newsom, who on Thursday put up a red flag, warning Democrats about a Gonzalez vice presidential bid.

"Don't underestimate Matt Gonzalez. Don't underestimate what he means to Ralph Nader and the Green Party. Don't underestimate his ability to galvanize young voters. And as a Democrat, I'm very concerned about that," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Nader garnered 2.7 percent of the national vote in the 2000 election, which some Democrats believe siphoned votes away from Al Gore and tipped the election to George W. Bush.

"I think the few votes they will take away we will manage to overcome," said Sophie Maxwell, San Francisco supervisor.

Maxwell is a Barack Obama supporter and doesn't believe a Nader/Gonzalez ticket will impact his momentum.

It was the same unfazed reaction from Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who founded the Green Party in California and actually took Gonzalez' place on the Board of Supervisors.

"This country is so intolerant of third parties it makes it impossible, so that I doubt it will materialize into as many votes as one may fear in 2008," said Mirkarimi.

"Let us not repeat the mistake of the past and I am concerned that with former Supervisor Gonzalez getting in the race with Ralph Nader that the Nader ticket has strengthened exponentially," said Newsom.

"It is an honor for me to run with Mr. Nader. I hold him in very high esteem and I share his politics," said Gonzalez.

Like it or not, San Francisco's Matt Gonzalez is now a key player on the national stage.