Pictured above: The Unite America team in Durango, CO.
Will the Democrats take the house? Will the Republicans keep the Senate? Either way, can we really expect things to change?
Unite America Executive Director recently shared three key things we're watching on election day. He writes: “The great political paradox of our time is that while both parties have negative approval ratings, many voters are hesitant to support an independent for fear of electing the candidate from the party they really dislike.”
Given those trends, as the Washington Post reports, 2018 may not be remembered as the breakthrough year of the independent. Yet, as the Post noted, we’ve endorsed 22 candidates for state legislature and we remain the “the best-funded organization trying to break the two-party system right now”
Others are taking notice, too.
NPR’s story, “With Voters Sour On Major Parties, Group Recruits 'None Of The Above' Candidates,” shares how our movement aims to bridge the growing partisan divide. “Everybody wants to put you in a box and wants you to stand in a box so they can clearly define what you are," said Paul Jones, one of our endorsed candidates in Colorado shared.
- In the Colorado Sun, a report on our Colorado candidates: “In interviews, emails and public appearances, the Colorado candidates backed by Unite come across as genuine independents, with varied viewpoints on issues such as taxes, schools, and oil and gas.The main thing that unites them is political reform. And they say that message is resonating with voters.”
The First Independent in 100 years?
Our movement has invested heavily to elect the first independent in over 100 in three key states.
In Colorado, Thea Chase earned the endorsement of the Grand Junction Sentinel, and it was recently reported that her Republican opponent may have committed voter fraud and does not live in the district.
A close race in HD-54 has Paul Jones (I) running against an incumbent Democrat. A recent column from Unite America supporter Randy Fricke reads “Paul Jones will represent the people in HD 59 and not a political party.” Yesterday, Unite America Executive Director Nick Troiano weighed in on partisan attacks to limit political competition and confuse voters.
In the Evergreen State a report from KUOW shares how independents -- sick of Donald Trump and wary of Democrats -- are rising up in eastern Washington around Dr. Ann Diamond, the independent candidate for LD-12. “Ann Diamond is the pathfinder. There will be more. This movement is only growing,” said Chris Vance, the former state GOP chair who has joined our movement as the co-chair of Washington Independents.
“Applewhite, 67, said he’s running against the two-party system. The former Democrat who served on the Santa Fe school board in the 1990s said he became an independent about 10 years ago. ‘I’ve seen both parties abandon their middles and become more extreme,’ he said. ‘And I’ve watched the primary process become the only elections that count.’”
Expanding the Bipartisan Governing Coalition
In Alaska, 6 independents are running for the state house, where two already serve. In a recent interview, Rep. Grenn said, “To me a what an independent truly means is that I get to look at a problem pragmatically.” His colleague, independent state Rep. Dan Ortiz appeared on the radio and took questions on the state’s budget, fisheries and education.
Former Republican turned independent Paul Seaton is in a tough race and recently talked about his priorities for the next session: close the fiscal gap and reduce the crime rate. The competitive race for a deep-blue was covered by KTVA. “I think a lot of the partisan dysfunction going on is a primer for me wanting to do this,” said independent Chris Dimond.
Jason Grenn sends 2,000 thank you notes to voters he’s visited over the last 5 months
One Woman Fulcrum?
In Arizona, independent Kathy Knecht could become the single swing vote in the closely divided state senate. Read about Unite Arizona’s efforts to help get the word about Kathy’s campaign in the Arizona Mirror and her commitment to put the people of her district first in the Arizona Capital Times.
Ranked Choice Voting
In Maine, voters will use Ranked Choice Voting for the first time in federal elections. That’s important for independent Marty Grohman who is running for the first congressional district and who recently earned the endorsement of Unite America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Unite America event in Portland, ME last month
In Alaska, Governor Bill Walker dropped out of the race to protect his policy accomplishments and put the interests of all Alaskans first. Our founder and co-chair, Charlie Wheelan was quoted in the Washington Post about the development:
“We salute Governor Walker for always putting the interests of his state above any personal or partisan interest, including in his decision to suspend his campaign. Governor Walker will remain a role model of independent leadership to others across the country, and Unite America was proud to have supported him.”
Ranked Choice Voting, however, would have eliminated the ‘spoiler argument’ and allowed Gov. Walker to continue on, as FairVote’s David Dally explains in The Hill.
Other News & Notes:
That’s not all! Check out these other exciting updates from independent candidates across the country:
- Jay Geyer’s incredible new video explains why he’ll never accept money from special interests. We agree, Jay, we must fix the role of money in politics.
“Terry Hayes walks the walk”...“Terry Hayes is Definitely the best choice for Maine”... “Hayes for Governor”... Yes. Yes. And Yes.
The Brookings Register interview explains exactly why we’re behind Cory Ann Ellis in South Dakota. Ellis told the paper, “I’m running because we need independent voices in Pierre. We need to get representation that represents the people, and I believe that I can do that job.”
On the PurpleState Podcast, U.S. Senate candidates Neal Simon and Craig O’Dear shared their take on the growing movement. Check out the recap on Independent Voter Network.
“We often hear it is time for a change. This is especially true in District 67. I hope voters will join me in supporting Anne Gass, who will be the kind of legislator we deserve,” wrote one supporter of Anne Gass (I-ME).
Steve Poizner, running for insurance commissioner in California, leads in the polls.
Rep. Owen Casas (I-ME) is running for re-election in HD-94. Watch the most recent debate or read the recap.
Supporters of Kate Harris (NH state house) have written letters to the editor with titles like “Kate Harris for Dover State Rep.” and “Vote for Kate Harris”
Constituents put their support in words - Vote for Orman . Orman deserves vote for Governor because he is “a leader who will not only rebuild, but maintain our good trading relations with the world”.
Maile Foster’s strong candidacy in Colorado is recognized by Colorado’s Fraternal Order of Police, as she gains the organization’s endorsement.
“Republican Party off the mark for criticizing Seaton” ; Former Alaskan Mayor agrees with Paul Seaton’s common sense solutions.
Support Dan Ortiz because he “can cast his vote for all Alaskans regardless of party affiliation."
- State Rep. Ben Jickling, 24, knows and understands the issues facing his district; read about his solutions in the Vermont Digger.
From our supporters!
Check out these columns from Unite America supporters:
Lexi Mealy in Harvard Politics - “Can an Independent Movement Happen?”
Steven Davidson in Carroll County Times - “Join the national independent movement”
Cooper Nye in the Detroit Free Press - “Independents seek better way”
- A.B. Stoddard in Real Clear Politics - "More Independents in the Senate -- Please"
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