Green Party names McKinney as presidential pick

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Green Party, which captured far less than 1 percent of the vote in the last presidential election, chose former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney as its 2008 presidential candidate on Saturday.

McKinney, 53, will be joined on the ticket for the November election by vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente, a hip-hop artist and activist.

McKinney received 313 out of 532 votes cast at the party’s nominating convention in Chicago, party spokesman Scott McLarty said.

In 2004, the Green Party drew 119,859 votes, or 0.1 percent of the total, finishing in sixth place behind the two major parties and three other third-party tickets.

The party’s best performance came in 2000 when Ralph Nader headed the ticket, and won 2.8 million votes, or 2.7 percent of the total. Some political analysts say Nader, a political and consumer activist, may have drawn votes from Democrat Al Gore and helped tip the election to Republican George W. Bush. Nader is running for president again this year as an independent.

McKinney served six terms in Congress and lost her 2006 bid for re-election. She was the first black woman to represent Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Another former House member from Georgia, Bob Barr, who served as a Republican, is running as the Libertarian Party candidate for president. The major-party candidates are Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

The U.S. Green Party says it is a partner with the European Federation of Green Parties and the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas.

“Green parties are the first parties to recognize that our role in the world is stewardship of Earth’s natural resources rather than domination and unrestrained consumption of the goods of the Earth,” the party said in its proposed platform for the 2008 election.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Peter Cooney