SEATTLE – Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader (search), working to get the 1,000 signatures needed to get on the Washington ballot, told supporters Sunday the Democrats trying to get him out of the race are overlooking their own failures.
"They're heavy into scapegoating," Nader said. "They're not looking at their own decay."
Chastising party leaders for not mounting a tougher challenge to the Iraq war, tax cuts and other Bush administration policies, Nader said, "The least worse approach to elections is that every four years the parties get worse."
Jason Kafoury, one of Nader's national field coordinators, said volunteers had gathered more than 1,100 signatures for Nader in Washington and that more would be gathered Sunday night. It was not clear how long it would take the Secretary of State's Office to determine whether Nader gets on the ballot.
Kafoury said the signature gathering began Saturday and the goal is to gather at least 500 more for a cushion.
In Oregon, State Elections Director John Lindback said Nader supporters turned in 950 petition sheets Saturday, most of them with a single signature, although some of the sheets contained several signatures.
It was not clear how many total signatures there were, but Lindback said, "Their margin is extremely thin." He said it would take a few days for Oregon election officials to tally the signatures and verify whether they were from registered voters.
Earlier Saturday, Nader had failed to win endorsement from the Green Party, a stamp of approval that would have given him a leg up on getting on the ballots of 22 states and the District of Columbus.
Instead, the party voted to nominate Texas lawyer David Cobb as its national candidate.