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Thursday, September 7, 2000

Wheat loses bid
to run as Green Party
mayoral candidate

By Treena Shapiro

It's final. Darryl "Buck" Wheat won't be running for Big Island mayor.

On Aug. 18, Kona Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra ruled that Wheat could not run for mayor as a Hawaii Green Party candidate because the Hilo businessman wasn't a member of the party. But a few days later, Wheat's application for membership -- postmarked July 12 -- turned up in Green Party treasurer's apartment. Wheat's attorney, Susan Evans asked the judge last week to reconsider his decision.

Yesterday, her request was denied. The Green Party had submitted documentation that showed that even though Wheat had submitted an application, he hadn't completed the screening process the party requires of all its candidates.

Wheat said the party never made any attempt to contact him. "All I know is I mailed out everything on time, and I went in there and told the truth and apparently the truth doesn't always hold up in court."

The Green Party said their candidate screening is what sets them apart from the other political groups.

"We had to do this to protect the voters, so they know when they're voting for a Green candidate that the candidate is going to stand for the principles," said Jeanne O'Brien, co-chairwoman of the Hawaii Green Party.

"I'm glad that it's over and I'm sorry it had to come to this," said O'Brien. "I hope that Buck Wheat will try again next election if he wants to be mayor."

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