Matt Erard ran in November 2006 as a Socialist for the 53rd District State House of Representatives, collecting more than the required 600 valid signatures necessary in order to appear on the ballot. Erard received 847 votes, compared with 26,985 votes for Democrat Rebekah Warren, and 5,898 votes for Republican Erik P. Sheagren. Erard conducted his campaign while a full-time undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. Erard graduated from the University in the Spring of 2007 with a bachelors degree in political science and sociology and returned to the University in the Fall of 2008 to pursue a masters degree within its School of Social Work.

Erard was a founding member of the Washtenaw Reds, a group consisting of members from several Socialist groups.

In the November 2008 election, Erard re-challenged Warren for the 53rd District State House seat with the nomination of both the Socialist and Green parties. Although only his Green Party affiliation was listed on the ballot, Erard's campaign materials and press coverage consistently identified him as the dually nominated candidate of both parties. Erard won 2,200 votes in the 2008 election, compared with 37,845 votes for Democratic incumbent Warren and 8,282 votes for Republican challenger Christina Brewton. As a result, Erard received the highest vote percentage of any minor party candidate, challenging opponents from both major parties, for any state/federal level office in Michigan that year.

In 2008 Erard also served as the National Ballot Access Coordinator for the Socialist Party's presidential campaign of Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander and the planning committee chair for the Socialist Party's biannual National Organizing Conference held in Ann Arbor in July of that year. Since 2001 Erard has also served as the State Chairperson of the Socialist Party of Michigan, which merged with the Ann Arbor-based Human Rights Party in 1976.

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