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PNS Daily Newscast - June 22, 2018 


The GOP leadership puts their efforts to fix immigration on hold. Also on the Friday rundown: Florida students take their gun control message to the Midwest; and a call for renewal of the land and water conservation fund.

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Maryland Businessman Among New, Independent Senate Candidates

Neal Simon is a business executive and community leader from Potomac, Maryland. He is the current CEO of Bronfman Rothschild and is running for U.S. Senate. (Neal Simon)
Neal Simon is a business executive and community leader from Potomac, Maryland. He is the current CEO of Bronfman Rothschild and is running for U.S. Senate. (Neal Simon)
March 1, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A newly formed organization, Unite America, has released its first slate of candidates for public office, including a U.S. Senate hopeful for Maryland.

Formerly known as the Centrist Project, Unite America says it's a purely independent group that hopes to bring new ideas to the political system, without taking sides with either Republicans or Democrats. The group's first six candidates from across the nation include Neal Simon, a Maryland business executive running for U.S. Senate.

Nick Troiano, executive director of Unite America, said recent events have solidified the need for a new party to emerge.

"We're getting more shutdowns than solutions,” Troiano said. “So we think there needs to be new electoral competition to force both parties back to the center where they can actually find common ground and work with each other."

The announcement comes at a time when a rapidly increasing groundswell of independent activism is gaining momentum. Nationally, 44 percent of Americans identify as independent - up five points from 2016 - and 61 percent say they want an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, according to Gallup polls.

Neal Simon, the candidate running for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, said he has run five different professional service businesses while serving on community boards and nonprofits. Simon said even a few independents in the Senate could make a big difference in political dynamics.

"In the U.S. Senate, if we had even just a small number of moderate independents, we can make an enormous difference on the body,” Simon said. “We could play a pivotal role in the middle, where we bring one side or the other towards the center. We could lead with legislation from the middle."

Troiano said Unite America wants to use what is known as the "Fulcrum Strategy" - getting just enough independent candidates into office to deny a solid majority for either Republicans or Democrats. He said the goal is to prompt lawmakers to find common ground and get things done.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD