Independent Candidates Disrupt US Senate Fight for Majority

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Centrist Project Comments: National media examines consequences of Kansas and South Dakota mid-terms

'Sending a leader to Washington that puts constituents ahead of partisanship drives a strong message to Congress, one that mandates cooperation across the aisle to solve problems not currently addressed.' - Charles Wheelan

The national media is taking notice of mid-term Senate races where independent candidates are disrupting major party nominees. The Atlantic, CBS, Huffington Post, NBC, NY Times, and Washington Post all report that frustrated voters are increasingly turning to centrist candidates that can set aside partisan politics to focus on solving problems.

  • Jonathan Marin, NY Times, writes -- “In an election year shaped by voter anger toward the political establishment, the outcome of an unusually large number of close Senate and governor’s races could be determined by the outsize role of third-party candidates.” [Long Shots Loom as Spoilers in Tight November Races Across Nation, 9/29/14]

Campaigning on a commitment to drive progress on issues of critical importance to the American people, these candidates are promoting to their freedom from major party influences. As a result, a few are surging in the polls as front-runners and serious contenders. This has the major party candidates on their heels.

Regional media is taking note as well, reporting that the number of moderate voters is on the rise due to dissatisfaction with the major parties.

  • Chapman Rackaway states in The Atlantic -- "You just have the sense—I see it every time I talk to people—that politics is broken. When someone reinforces that, saying, 'Yes, both parties are the problem,' that really resonates with people right now." [The Mystery Candidate Shaking Up Kansas Politics, 9/27/14]

With two Independent US Senators, a third or fourth could lead to a consortium of centrist power and change the political landscape. This could drive additional support for independent candidates in subsequent election cycles.

“This is a critical moment in American politics,” says Charles Wheelan, founder of The Centrist Project, a senior lecturer and policy fellow at the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, and the bestselling author of Naked Economics. “Independent candidates in Kansas and South Dakota have a strong appeal to voters. Sending a leader to Washington that puts constituents ahead of partisanship drives a strong message to Congress, one that mandates cooperation across the aisle to solve problems not currently addressed.”

The Centrist Project Voice, as an advocate for candidates subscribing to centrist principles, has endorsed three independent candidates for US Senate – Greg Orman (Kansas), Larry Pressler (South Dakota), and Jill Bossi (South Carolina):

  • "Like The Centrist Project and its members, I believe we need problem solvers, not partisans, in Washington,” said Greg Orman, an Independent U.S. Senate candidate in Kansas and co-founder of the Common Sense Coalition.
  • “We are on the verge of something truly historic,” said Larry Pressler. “It has been decades since this kind of reform-minded movement has organized. The fact that it is coming from both sides of the aisle makes it all the more remarkable.”
  • “Receiving this endorsement is an important acknowledgement of what my campaign stands for and what we are trying to do for the State of South Carolina and America,” said Jill Bossi, candidate for Senate from South Carolina.

For more information on these endorsements, see Breaking News: The Centrist Project Voice Endorses a Wide Portfolio of Moderate Candidates.

Additional US media reports on the surge of independent candidates include:


  • CBS Evening News, 9/25/14, Which party would get Kansas independent Greg Orman's vote?
  • NBC News, 9/19/14, Greg Orman: The Most Interesting Man in Politics This November
  • Washington Post, 9/24/14, Staking the Senate on Kansas?

South Dakota

  • Huffington Post, 9/22/14, An Independent Can Awaken 'Party' Zombies
  • MSNBC, 9/14/14, UP with Steve Kornacki - Could South Dakota upend fight for Senate?
  • Uncovered Politics, 9/29/14, Poll Shows Pressler the Stronger Candidate in Possible Two-Way Race

The Centrist Project Voice is a separate segregated fund (SSF) of The Centrist Project. It is the first PAC to promote centrist candidates regardless of party affiliation. The Centrist Project is a 501(c)4 membership organization focused breaking the gridlock in Washington by changing political incentives and helping elect responsible leaders. Its Centrist Principles include fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, social tolerance, economic opportunity and a pragmatic approach to solving policy challenges. More information about the Centrist Project Voice and its endorsed candidates is available at More information about The Centrist Project is available at

To speak with Charles Wheelan or the candidates endorsed by the Centrist Project Voice please contact:
Pam Peak, Executive Director

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Pam Peak