Independent Movement Roundup. 1 week to go!

Over the last month, the Unite America team and our network of supporters have knocked on more than 10,000 doors, made over 30,000 phone calls and sent 80,000 text messages on behalf of our endorsed candidates.

Now, with less than a week to go, we’re sharing the most exciting news from the campaign trail and asking supporters to pitch in to help us get out the vote in the final week!

Pictured above: The Unite America team in Durango, CO. 

National Narrative

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.

Unite New Mexico is supporting Jarratt Applewhite, who was recently profiled in the Albuquerque Journal:

“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.

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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

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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.

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From our supporters!

Check out these columns from Unite America supporters:

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