Unite America Endorses 19 Independent Candidates for State Legislature Across the Country

Organization Announces First-Ever “Unite Summit” for Independent Candidates, Elected Officials, and Leaders in Denver on August 18

DENVER, CO –– Unite America, a movement to challenge the nation’s dysfunctional two-party duopoly by electing independents who can seize control of the balance of power in narrowly divided legislatures, today announced its endorsement of 19 candidates running for state legislature in 2018 and a national “Unite Summit” in Denver, CO on August 18.

“We are building our movement from the ground-up in key states across the country and bringing new competition into the political system,” said Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America. “We are proud to support a diverse, credible, and competitive slate of candidates who are pioneering an alternative to our nation’s increasingly divisive and dysfunctional politics.”

Down-Ballot Candidates

Unite America identified and vetted more than 150 independent state legislative candidates and made its endorsements based on candidates’ alignment with the good governance principles of its “Declaration of Independents” and their ability to run competitive campaigns.

The Declaration includes a commitment to put the public interest ahead of any partisan or special interest, use common sense and find common ground to solve problems, and stand for the timeless values of opportunity, equality, and stewardship.

Eight of the 19 endorsed candidates are women, and six are incumbent state legislators. The endorsed candidates are:

Rep. Jason Grenn (HD-22, AK) –– State Rep. & Former Nonprofit Marketing Executive

Walter Riseman (HD 69, ME) –– Retired Small Business Specialist and CFO, Community Concepts

Rep. Dan Ortiz (HD-36, AK) –– State. Rep & Retired, Award-Winning Teacher

Rep. Owen Casas (HD-94, ME) –– State Rep, Veteran & Small Business Owner

Rep. Paul Seaton (HD-31, AK) –– State Rep, Small Business Owner

Crystal Canney (SD-27, ME) –– Communications Consultant

Thea Chase (HD-54, CO) –– Small business adviser & Palisade town trustee

Dr. Kate Harris (Stratford HD 14 Ward 2, NH) –– Clinical Psychologist  

Maile Foster (HD-18, CO) –– Financial Adviser & Small Business Owner

Jarratt Applewhite (HD-50, NM) –– Lamy Entrepreneur and nonprofit executive

Paul Jones (HD-59, CO) –– Retired Game Warden

Cory Ann Ellis (HD-7, SD) –– Veteran, Small Business Owner

Jay Geyer (HD-33, CO) –– Veteran & CU Boulder Philosophy Instructor

Rep. Laura Sibilia (HD-127, VT) –– State Rep, Director of Economic Development Strategies

Steve Peterson (SD-30, CO) –– IBM Executive

Rep. Ben Jickling (HD-128, VT) –– State Rep. & Founder, Randolph Area Mentoring Program

Ray Ranker (HD-21, MD) –– Chaplain, University of Maryland

Dr. Ann Diamond (HD-12, WA) –– Physician & Clinic Owner

Anne Gass (HD-67, ME) –– Small Business Owner & Author


The organization’s ultimate objective, known as the “Fulcrum Strategy,” is to elect a sufficient number of independent leaders to narrowly divided legislatures for them to control the balance of power and gain the leverage necessary to advance common-ground policy solutions –– similar to what happened in the Alaska State House in 2016 when two independents helped to flip control from the Republican Party to a new, bipartisan governing coalition.

Unite America listed several other candidates as “On Our Radar” and will be following the progress of their campaigns as the group considers making additional endorsements before November.

“We are out to prove that independents can win and can make a positive difference in our politics,” said Joel Searby, Unite America’s Senior Strategist, who managed Evan McMullin’s independent presidential campaign in 2016.

Unite Summit

The candidates endorsed by Unite America will join more than 150 other independent candidates, elected officials, and movement leaders at the first Unite Summit on Saturday, August 18 in Denver, CO.

The Unite Summit will be open to members of the press and public and aims to accelerate the growth of the independent movement by developing relationships, offering workshops, and raising resources.

Speakers include former members of Congress Brian Baird (WA), David Skaggs (CO), and Zach Wamp (TN), independent statewide candidates Greg Orman (KS), Neal Simon (MD), and Craig O’Dear (MO), incumbent state legislators Jason Grenn (AK), Cheri Jahn (CO), and Owen Casas (ME), and former presidential candidate Evan McMullin.

Attendees will also include the leadership of various state-based minor parties across the country, including the Independent Party of Oregon, Independence Party of Minnesota, and the United Utah Party.

About Unite America

In February, Unite America endorsed a national slate of independent candidates for statewide office, including Governor Bill Walker (AK), State Treasurer Terry Hayes (ME), and entrepreneur Greg Orman (KS), who are all running for governor of their respective states. Unite America also endorsed attorney Craig O’Dear (MO) and businessman Neal Simon (MD), who are both running for U.S. Senate.

Through an ecosystem of national organizations and state partnerships, Unite America is supporting its endorsed candidates by providing access to its electoral infrastructure such as campaign talent and voter data, channeling donor contributions and making independent expenditures, and mobilizing a network of grassroots volunteers and chapters.

Founded by Charles Wheelan 2013, a senior lecturer of public policy at Dartmouth College and author of the Centrist Manifesto, Unite America has grown to be a $3.5M organization in the 2018 election cycle, backed by civic leaders and entrepreneurs across the country –– including Riot Games co-founder & co-chairman Marc Merrill, Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter, and Centro founder & CEO Shawn Riegsecker.


Unite America is a citizens movement to bridge the growing partisan divide by electing common sense, independent candidates to office. More information: www.UniteAmerica.org.

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  • Joseph Bogdan
    Deep down inside, we share a Vision of America that can reunite us as a nation:

    • Opportunity: where if we work hard we can all achieve the American Dream.
    • Freedom: where red tape can only be found at the hardware store.
    • Fairness: where we are not held back nor see others unfairly advanced ahead of us.
    • A land of profound natural beauty: not only for ourselves, but also for our children and grandchildren.
    • That our children will be prepared for the future: growing up in a safe environment that fosters learning.
    • A land of safe neighborhoods: where we can walk the streets of any city at night without fearing harassment.
    • A land at peace: a nation of friendship deemed untouchable by tyrants and extremists alike, a place where we achieve safety without compromising law-abiding citizens’ rights.
    • A nation with a government serving its citizens efficiently and effectively: minimizing taxes without hurting our quality of life.
    • A nation united: the same vision our Founding Fathers had when they established this country, where we work together to achieve a shared vision and win-win solutions for all of us.
    • We are the United States of America: by making the right choices, we can make this shared vision a reality.