Willa Kenoyer

Willa Kenoyer (born 13 December 1933 in Tacoma, Washington) was the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) candidate for President of the United States in the 1988 U.S. presidential election. The SPUSA was not on the ballot in 1984 (the previous election) due to a lack of interest among its members,[1] and only hoped for a vote total of five digits, expecting to do better in the next century, according to the chair Anne Rosenhaft.[2] Kenoyer's running mate was Ron Ehrenreich; they also ran on the Liberty Union Party (LUP) line in Vermont, defeating Herbert G. Lewin of the Internationalist Workers Party by a vote difference of 199–66 in the LUP primary, which socialists use to gauge the relative strength of their campaigns.[3] They hoped to spread their ideas, finding some similarities to the goals of Jesse Jackson's campaign, with significant differences regarding the military and intelligence agencies, and faulted him for, in their opinion, attracting more people to the Democratic Party.[4] The Democratic party's ultimate nominee Michael Dukakis and platform were criticized by the campaign.[5]

Kenoyer and Ehrenreich received 3,882 votes in the election.[6] At the time she was working as a freelance journalist in Shelby, Michigan,[7][8] and had been a co-chair of the Citizens Party.[9] She was a divorced mother of four who learned about socialism from her father, a member of the Sawmill Workers. Her mother was a member of the Newspaper Guild.[10] Prior to running for President, she served a six-year term on the Economic Development Commission for Oceana County, Michigan, to which she was reappointed in 1987.[11]

In 2004, she was appointed to the Van Buren County, Michigan Family Independence Agency Board. She was reappointed for a term expiring in October 2009.[12]


  1. "Unknown applicants for White House piling up". The Courier [Arizona]. June 21, 1987. p. 7A. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  2. "Tired of Bush, Dukakis? 314 others in running". The Hour [New London, CT]. August 29, 1988. p. 2. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  3. "No Vermont Presidential Primary" (PDF). Ballot Access News. 7 (4). June 24, 1991.
  4. "Willa Kenoyer assesses Jackson's candidacy". Lundington Daily News. April 28, 1988. p. 2. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  5. "Socialists strive to get candidates on state ballots". The Spokesman-Review. July 25, 1988. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  6. Freeman, Jo (2008). We Will Be Heard: Women's Struggles for Political Power in the United States. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7425-5607-2.
  7. "Socialists nominate 2 for '88". The Day [New London, CT]. June 9, 1987. p. A2. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  8. e.g. "Shelby Complex is Still Vacant" Muskegon Chronicle August 2, 1981.
  9. "Writer and Teacher to Head Socialist's Ticket for 1988" New York Times June 9, 1987.
  10. "Socialists strive to get candidates on state ballots". The Spokesman-Review. July 25, 1988. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  11. Brown, Janet (January 9, 1987). "In Oceana County: Commissioners reorganize". Lundington Daily News. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
  12. "Udow Announces Local DHS Board Appointments Michigan Department of Human Services. March 30, 2007.

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Sonia Johnson (Citizen's Party ticket)
Socialist Party Presidential candidate
1988 (lost)
Succeeded by
J. Quinn Brisben

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