Independents challenge 2-party system with Washington pick

SEATTLE (AP) — A group of political independents that includes Alaska Governor Bill Walker has endorsed a candidate for the Washington state Legislature, part of a plan to mount a national challenge to the two-party system at this year’s midterm elections.

Unite America, formerly known as the Centrist Project, said it has raised $3 million to help re-elect Walker and fund gubernatorial candidates in Maine and Kansas, Senate candidates in Missouri and Maryland, in addition to state legislative hopefuls in Colorado and Washington. That’s 10 times more money than the group was able to raise in the last election cycle.

A Gallup poll in January showed 44 percent of Americans identify as independents, compared with 35 percent a decade earlier. Unite America says its goal is to win enough seats in closely divided bodies to control the balance of power, rather than establish a traditional political party.