FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2016
HANOVER, NH –Today, The Centrist Project announces its endorsement of two Independent candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives: Martin Babinec of New York (NY-22) and Alan LaPolice of Kansas (KS-1).
The Centrist Project is the leading national organization working to break the partisan hold on the U.S. Congress by promoting the election of Independent, centrist Senators and House Members to bring common-sense, effective leadership to Washington. The Centrist Project has also endorsed Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, Margaret Stock of Alaska.
“The Centrist Project believes that a handful of Independent Senators and House Representatives – like Martin Babinec, Alan LaPolice, and Margaret Stock – who are committed to solving problems and good governance and who are fiscally responsible, socially tolerant and environmentally responsible can break through the gridlock and become the moderating force to get things done in Congress,” said Centrist Project Founder Charles Wheelan.
“We cannot expect better political outcomes unless we can get beyond the pettiness of the two parties. These candidates are exactly the right kind of smart, thoughtful, public-minded Independents necessary to challenge the broken system,” said Centrist Project Executive Director Pam Peak.
No matter who wins the Presidency, that person will have a tough time achieving anything with Congress. Breaking the log jam will take fresh ideas from someone not bound by Republican or Democratic dogma. As Alan LaPolice said: “How do we solve this? We elect people who actually serve people.”
The last non-incumbent Independent to win an election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives was Bernie Sanders, 26 years ago. Since then, more than 5,000 congressional elections have occurred and no other Independents besides Sanders have been elected (largely because most districts are uncontested, with incumbents winning re-election over 94% of the time). This election cycle, with an unprecedented level of voter apathy for the party candidates and with the highest proportion of self-declared independent voters in history, Independent candidates are well-poised to win. Centrist Project surveys and polls show voters are hungry for candidates that prioritize voters and the country’s interests, not a party’s interests.
MARTIN BABINEC – INDEPENDENT FOR U.S. HOUSE - NY-22
Martin Babinec is an Independent with a proven track record as an entrepreneur and job creator. Babinec’s experience as a job creator, independent and entrepreneur will help more people pursue their own American Dream, and keep families together while growing stronger communities in Upstate NY.
After growing TriNet into a $2 billion publicly traded company, Babinec and his wife Krista returned home from Silicon Valley to Upstate New York, because they wanted their children to be close to their family. After stepping down as CEO of TriNet, Martin turned his focus to creating jobs in his home district, investing in local companies and starting Upstate Venture Connect a non-profit dedicated to accelerating job growth. He’s using proven effective techniques, not the same-old government jobs programs that have failed the district.
Recent polling shows the race is very competitive between Babinec and his Republican and Democratic opponents. Today, Babinec is best poised to be the first independent candidate in 26 years to win a seat in Congress. That’s an incredible feat when starting from zero – as Independents don’t have a party label or machinery built in to back them. This showcases that voters are hungry for candidates with the right policies and the independence to advocate for them – not a party agenda. Babinec’s message is strongly resonating with voters. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Babinec in this race over the two party candidates – the first time they have ever endorsed an independent candidate.
Babinec demonstrates that Independents aren’t spoilers – they are strong, viable choices for voters. He's pulling support from R's, D's, and I's in nearly equal measure, and has strong support across the geographically diverse district. Politico called this a "rare opportunity for third party win" in this region.
Learn more on Martin Babinec's website: http://www.babinecforcongress.com/
ALAN LAPOLICE – INDEPENDENT FOR U.S. HOUSE – KANSAS 1ST DISTRICT
Alan LaPolice is a fifth generation farmer, military veteran, and former educator, having served as a teacher, school principal and district Superintendent. He is the first Independent on the ballot in the First District in decades. He is Independent of the hyper-partisan nonsense currently destroying our government.
With policies geared to all Americans, LaPolice is well poised to win: nearly half of all Kansas voters do not currently identify with either party, and he is popular with Democrats and Republicans. He seeks to bring honor and integrity back to the Legislature. With no other Independents currently in the House, this is the opportunity to bring the credibility needed to break the gridlock and destructive partisanship in Washington.
“To be recognized and endorsed by the Centrist Project means so very much to me. This is an organization which clearly places the American People as its only special interest and the restoration of rational, representational government as its mission. It gives me great pride to be part of that same cause. They bravely seek out people to stand up and fight for what is right and to that cause, and I am a fierce ally,” said LaPolice.
Kansas is the state that nearly elected Centrist Project backed Greg Orman (Independent) to the U.S. Senate in 2014, coming closer than anyone expected to defeating longtime incumbent Pat Roberts. LaPolice is now in a two-way race to replace Tim Huelskamp, the Republican incumbent who lost in the primary, after serving as one of the most vocal members of the far-right Freedom Caucus. The Libertarian candidate suspended his campaign and endorsed LaPolice.
LaPolice received the endorsement of the Hutchinson News, the largest newspaper in the 1st District, which called him a “true outsider” and “a regular guy” with all the traits rural Kansans love. To date, four local newspapers have endorsed LaPolice.
LaPolice is a former Republican who challenged Huelskamp for his party’s nomination in 2014, earning a surprising 45 percent of the votes. He is running as an Independent citing disillusionment with the bitter and costly GOP race.
Learn more on Alan LaPolice’s website: http://www.alanlapolice.com
MARGARET STOCK – INDEPENDENT FOR U.S. SENATE – ALASKA
“The Centrist Project endorsed Margaret Stock because she can go to Washington and represent the best interests of Alaska and our country, not beholden to party bosses and corporate interests. She devoted her impressive career to serving the military and tackling tough immigration and national security issues. She has the right skillset to forge solutions to our nation’s challenges in a collaborative, common sense manner to get Washington working again,” said Wheelan. “We cannot expect better political outcomes unless we can get beyond the pettiness of the two parties. Margaret Stock is exactly the right kind of smart, thoughtful, public-minded Independent necessary to fix the broken system.”
More than 53% of registered Alaska voters have left the major parties and in 2014, Alaskans elected an Independent Governor. “That’s clear evidence that Alaska’s voters are frustrated with the political parties and are anxious for an independent voice as an option for U.S. Senate in 2016,” said Wheelan.
“There is a disconnect between the major parties and the people they supposedly serve, and you see it in the increasing numbers of voters who are registering as independents,” said Margaret Stock. “The Centrist Project’s goal of electing a half-dozen independent senators who can break the partisan impasse in the U.S. Senate would force the parties to work together in the best interest of the American people.”
Margaret Stock is a retired lieutenant colonel who served her country in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps for 28 years. After earning degrees from Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Army War College, Stock went on to become a leading legal expert on the intersection of immigration and national security and was awarded a 2013 MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" for her work in that area.
Stock, a first-time candidate who spent most of her adult life as a registered Republican, is running for U.S. Senate as an Independent because she has seen the harmful effect big money and partisanship has had on our institutions in Washington and believes we need people in Congress who will answer to the American people – not a party, not a party agenda and not the special interests.
Learn more on Margaret Stock’s website: http://www.margaretforalaska.com
The Centrist Project provides resources for independent-minded voters across the country and helps identify politically independent candidates to run for the U.S. Senate with the goal of forcing the parties into more responsible policy-making and leadership. In 2014, the Centrist Project supported competitive independent candidates Larry Pressler, a former Republican U.S. senator from South Dakota, and businessman Greg Orman in Kansas, among others. The Centrist Project was founded in 2013 following the publication of Charles Wheelan’s book, The Centrist Manifesto, calling for a political movement of the middle to break the paralyzed two-party gridlock in Washington.
To learn more about the candidates and ballot measures we support for 2016, visit: http://www.centristproject.org/election