- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2004

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader selected California investment banker Peter Miguel Camejo as his running mate in the November election.

Mr. Camejo, 64, was a leading candidate for the Green Party in California’s special recall election, which removed Gov. Gray Davis and replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger last year. Mr. Nader said the move solidifies his campaign and its efforts to transform government.

“He adds far more to my ticket than any candidate the other parties can produce,” Mr. Nader said.

The most important issue in the election, Mr. Camejo said, is the Iraq war, which he calls unsound international policy.

A first-generation American, Mr. Camejo was born in New York to Venezuelan parents. He said he will be active in the campaign, speaking to Hispanics and blacks.

Plans include speaking on Spanish-language television and radio stations across the country.

“We will engage the Latino community in a way that has never been done before by any campaign,” Mr. Nader said.

The civil rights background of Mr. Camejo will fit nicely into the campaign, Mr. Nader said. Mr. Camejo marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, Ala., in the 1960s.

Pundits are viewing Mr. Camejo’s selection as a vice-presidential candidate as a way to guarantee Mr. Nader receives the Green Party endorsement.

“This is a strong step forward for him to getting a nomination from the Green Party,” said Chris Kofinis, a strategist for TheNaderFactor.com, an organization devoted to building a unified front to remove President Bush from office.

Mr. Kofinis said his group is not trying to persuade Mr. Nader to drop out of the race, but it is worried that Mr. Nader’s influence could spoil a close election for Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“It is now crystal clear to Democrats and Republicans that Nader will be a factor in this election cycle,” Mr. Kofinis said.

Mr. Camejo, board chairman of Progressive Asset Management of California, which he founded in 1987, said he will attend the Green Party convention in Milwaukee this week and campaign on the Nader platform.

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