After months of planning, scheming, and petitioning, primary season has at last descended on America. Across the country, voters are finally getting the chance to whittle down a long list of potentials to the shorter list of who will actually appear on the ballot. This means that it is time to take stock for Unite America, the group trying to bring American politics back from the partisan breach by supporting strong third party candidates. So far, Unite America has endorsed some 24 independent candidates, each committed to working outside of the partisan divide to make the country better. So far, their advocacy has been having mild success, boosted by Ann Diamond’s success in Washington state.
Early in August, Unite America celebrated the victory of one of its candidates, Ann Diamond, who won a Washington state primary to face County Commissioner Keith Goehner for an open seat in the Washington state house. During her campaign, Diamond stressed how American politics finds itself deadlocked between opposing parties and added that a third party candidate could offer a way through the morass.
“Dr. Diamond’s primary victory is a win for our whole movement, as it demonstrates that voters are truly ready to support a new and viable alternative to both major political parties,” said Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America. “This is a good sign for things to come in November, for all of our races nationally.”
Diamond is the one Unite America-endorsed candidate so far to have won a competitive primary. Still, other endorsed candidates are slated to appear on the ballot in November. Unite America is preparing for a series of seminars to try to help these candidates to learn from each other’s campaigns, and thus, to better prepare for future race.
As the group is gearing up for its Unite Summit, they are also preparing for a a one-day conference that will be hosted in Denver on Saturday. The event will bring together more than 200 independent candidates, including those whom Unite America has endorsed, previous third party candidates, such as Evan McMullin, and party leadership from state-specific third parties, like Minnesota’s Independence Party and South Carolina’s American Party.
“Independents united by the idea of putting country over party are coming together to meet each other, learn from each other, and work together to pioneer a new way forward in our increasingly dysfunctional and divided politics,” said Troiano, executive director of Unite America, about the summit.
Unite America describes itself as a citizens movement to “bridge the growing partisan divide by electing common sense, independent candidates to office.” It hopes that, by helping third party candidates in certain competitive states, it will be able to nudge regional politics back towards a conciliatory framework.
“A very small number of independent members would be able to deny both political parties an outright majority and gain enormous leverage to break through the partisan gridlock –– that’s our ultimate goal,” said Chris Vance, co-chair of Washington Independents and former GOP state chair and Washington state legislator, after Diamond’s win. “The idea is to find independent thinkers who are incentivized by their voters to put the country and policies ahead of a party. So we’re not looking for false equivalence, we’re looking for real public servants.”
Speaking in a radio interview on Monday, Ron Fournier, Unite America’s spokesman, expressed a similar goal.
“The idea is to find independent thinkers who are incentivized by their voters to put the country and policies ahead of a party,” he said. “So we’re not looking for false equivalence, we’re looking for real public servants.”
Their success in this, however, rests with voters, and the results in November.