2016 Green Party leadership election
The 2016 leadership election for the Green Party of Sierra was held on April 1, 2016 and lasted until the 28 when a new leader was elected. The election was the sixth leadership election to be held and was the first one to be held since the 2001 leadership election fifteen years prior. The election was announced on March 12 after Estella Tate had announced her resignation as Leader of the Green Party citing health complications and growing fears that she would be unable to properly lead the Green Party during a period in which Sierran politics were shifting to the right thanks to Daniel McComb and his efforts as Leader of the Royalist Party. Her resignation was accepted by the party's governing body, the Federal Committee, though the committee took over with voenrign the party until her successor was chosen in a leadership election due to her health complications.
The Federal Committee was to host the Green Party Conference in San Jose, Santa Clara on April 18 and began allowing candidates to submit their applications to participate in the race on starting on march 8 and would host debates between the candidates to determine which ones would win the needed 55 delegates to make it the second round where provincial Green Parties were to hand out ballots to registered members of the Green Party to determine who would be the party leader. In total, five candidates participated in the race and only two made it to the final round; Jonathan Mueller from Shasta and Richard Dubose from Kings. The election concluded on April 28 with Mueller winning the most votes and was selected to become the new Leader of the Green Party.
Estella Tate had been the Leader of the Green Party since January 21, 2001 and served as party leader for fifteen years which made her the longest serving Leader of the Green Party and the first Native Sierran to serve as the leader of a national political party. She lead the party throughout the 2004 election as part of the Official Opposition and in the 2008 federal election had helped the party win eight seats and lead it to join the Progressive Coalition under Steven Hong of the Democratic-Republican Party. Following the 2013 Sierran federal election which saw the Royalist-led opposition gain ground in parliament, there were efforts to challenge Tate, but she had enough support that a leadership election was not called into action.
In February 2016 Tate was sent to the hospital and she was diagnosed Stage 1 Colon cancer and underwent treatment. She was able to serve as party leader, but on March 1 she submitted her resignation to the Federal Committee citing her health complications and personal fears that with the political climate leaning to the right and in favor McComb's Royalist Party, she feared that she couldn't lead the Green Party through a tough period and chose to step down which the committee approved of and had its chair, Mike Durbin, take over as acting party leader. Unlike most political parties in Sierra, the Leader of the Green Party doesn't have to be held by a sitting Member of Parliament and can be filled by a member of the Federal Committee or a politician affiliated with the Green Party on the constituent, provincial or federal level. The rule was kept in place for the 2016 election with most candidates being non-MPs and Mueller being one of the two MPs to be running for the position as party leader.
- March 1: Estella Tate submits her resignation as party leader to the Federal Committee and releases an announcement on social media.
- March 2: The resignation is accepted and Tate gives a formal address announcing that she's stepping down.
- March 5: Mike Durbin, Chair of the Federal Committee, is appointed acting Leader of the Green Party.
- March 6: Provincial affiliates of the Green Party begin planning for the election.
- March 8: Richard Dubose announces his candidacy, becoming the first candidate to join the race.
- March 9: Jonathan Mueller joins the race, becoming the first openly gay candidate for party leader.
- March 12: George Carter joins the race and starts his campaign.
- March 13: Jack Ryan, Green Party MP, denies to enter the race and endorses Dubose instead.
- April 1: Candidate submissions are ended with the deadline met.
- April 2: Provincial parties in Shasta and Plumas hold their elections.
- April 3: Provincial Green parties in the Styxie announce their plan to hold all their elections at once.
- April 4: Provincial parties in San Joaquin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Reno and Tahoe hold their elections.
- April 7: Central Valley, Kings, and Gold Coast Green parties hold their elections.
- April 18: First stage elections are ended. Second stage starts at the 2016 Conference.
The leadership election was declared on March 5 with the candidate selection process beginning on March 8. The leadership election was to only be held in Federal Sierra since the Green Party doesn't organize in the Deseret and the Green Party's affiliate in Hawaii, the Green Alliance of Hawaii, is a lately autonomous devolved affiliated party that holds its own leadership elections, though the latter does have representatives in the Federal Committee who could vote in the leadership election within the federal Green Party of Sierra.
Both Dobuse and Mueller were the first candidates to enter into the race and both received significant media attention as Dubose was from Kings, a fairly conservative province historically aligned with the Royalist Party, and was known for leading the Green Party of Kings to surprising electoral victories within constituent and county elections. Mueller was a sitting Member of Parliament from Grand Appleton, Shasta's 1st district, and was the first openly gay MP to be elected to the position during the 2013 Sierran federal election. If Mueller was to be elected, he would become the first openly gay Leader of the Green Party and the first LGBT+ leader of a national political party.