JEFFERSON CITY - One of Al Gore's bigger headaches has made it on the Missouri ballot. Ralph Nader's Green Party was certified Tuesday for Missouri's November ballot.
The Secretary of State has approved the petitions of the Green Party for the November 7 ballot -- joining the Natural Law Party that was certified in February. Both parties had submit at least 10,000 signatures to gain ballot status.
Polls have shown Nader taking votes from Gore in other states. But in Missouri, one of the state's top Democrats expressed little concern.
"It remains to be seen whether they'll mount a serious campaign or not," said Roy Temple, executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party. "It's one thing to garner national media attention, but presidential campaigns are by and large state by state efforts."
In addition to submitting petitions, a party can become recognized for the ballot if one of its statewide candidates gets at least 2 percent of the vote in the prior election.
The Green and Natural Law parties join Missouri's five established parties: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Constitutional, and Reform.
The Natural Law party lost its established status in 1998, after failing to win the necessary 2 percent of any race. It is nominating 12 candidates, the most well-known of which is nuclear physicist John Hagelin for US president -- the same person who is contesting Pat Buchanan's nomination as the Reform Party's presidential candidate.
The Green Party, championed in the national presidential race this year by Ralph Nader, was not represented in the 1998 elections because it failed to get enough signatures to appear on the ballot. This year, it has nominated 18 candidates, including one Columbian, Paula Elias for Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State also certified the candidacy of three independents on Tuesday, who will be the only independent candidates on the November ballot.
Larry Rice, owner of 14 radio stations and liberal activist, is running for governor.
"I was amazed at how quickly people signed my petition," Rice said. The televangelist said he had traveled through every county of Missouri this summer to collect the signatures.
No independent has run for governor for almost 20 years, when the number of signatures required to get on the ballot was raised.
Two independents running for state representative also were certified on Tuesday.
Missouri has just one independent legislator, Denny Merideth from Caruthersville who is running as a Democrat for reelection this year.