Hank Bardel is not an intimidating man.
“Well, here’s my campaign flier,” he says. “I stand for getting things done.”
He’s a father, a grandfather, a retired supervisor at the city Department of Parks and Recreation, but this unassuming retiree could be a threat in one of the country’s most competitive congressional races.
“I’m not the spoiler. The Democrats and the Republicans are the spoilers,” Bardel says.
Bardel is running for Congress on the Green Party line, facing off against Rep. Michael Grimm and Democrat Domenic Recchia.
“I’ve run quite a few times, maybe five or six times,” he says.
This time, it’s a bit different. There is a more aggressive Green Party candidate at the top of the ticket: Howie Hawkins for governor. That might potentially bring voters to Bardel’s corner.
According to our recent NY1/Capital New York/Siena College poll, Bardel was bringing in 4 percent. With an extremely tight race, where the major candidates are running neck and neck, this third party candidate could be a deciding factor.
“We’re informing the public that the Democrat and Republican policies are not working,” Bardel says.
He has not raised any money or even filed anything with the Federal Election Commission. He has no campaign staff, just volunteers.
“We don’t have a lot of money because we don’t accept money also from corporations,” he says.
Bardel does not even have a campaign headquarters. He is running this bare bones operation out of his house on Staten Island. As for his platform, he is echoing another New York progressive.
“In order to do things, we need money, of course. Government can’t do things without money. That’s why I’m saying we have to tax the wealthy,” he says.
In 2012, Bardel received nearly 2,000 votes, not even 1 percent of the turnout. We will see this time around if those numbers have room to grow.
“If you want the right policies, vote green. Vote for Hank Bardel,” he says.