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A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

Daily Newscasts

Unite America Seeks Bigger Role for Independent Candidates in Politics

March 1, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A newly formed organization, Unite America, has released its first slate of independent candidates for U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races across the country. The group says its building a national movement to challenge the gridlocked and historically unpopular two-party duopoly.

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. Nick Troiano, executive director of the group, 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.

Unite America is backing such candidates as Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska, the only independent governor in office, as well as U.S. Senate candidates in Maryland, Missouri and Wyoming. The group has released a "Declaration of Independents," a statement of shared principles that defines its approach to governing.

Troiano said it puts the emphasis on ideas and policies, rather than the party they're coming from.

"Being committed to finding common ground between both sides, being committed to the idea of using facts and reason to come up with policy solutions, rather than being 'for' or 'against' ideas depending on where they come from,” he said. “So, this is a new model of governance that puts people over party."

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 - FL