The Centrist Project today announced an endorsement of Maine independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes, a new partnership with Maine Independents to recruit down ballot candidates, and the launch of a new grassroots chapter in Portland.
Maine is one of a few target states where the Centrist Project will dedicate its resources in the 2018 election cycle, with the aim of electing a coalition of independents to the state legislature who can bridge the growing partisan divide in government. Fewer than five independents could control the balance of power in both legislative chambers.
In 2016, voters elected two independents to the state house, Owen Casas and Kent Ackley.
“We believe Maine will continue to lead the country in demonstrating how independent elected officials can improve governance by representing the people rather than a political party,” said Nick Troiano, Executive Director of the Centrist Project.
Terry Hayes is the first candidate endorsed by the Centrist Project for the 2018 election cycle, after being vetted by the organization based on her personal integrity, alignment with core centrist principles, and ability to run a viable campaign. Hayes previously served eight years in the state house and currently serves as Maine’s first independent State Treasurer.
“Terry is a public servant and a problem solver who has a proven capacity to bring people together and get things done,” Troiano added.
The Centrist Project also announced its support of Maine Independents, a new organization that is actively recruiting independent state legislative candidates and providing them with campaign training.
Maine Independents was launched earlier this year by political reformers and staff of former independent candidate campaigns. The group is building a statewide presence to help advance its mission of giving more voice to independent voters and more choice to all Maine voters.
The Centrist Project will provide independent candidates in Maine with national organizational support, financial resources, and campaign infrastructure. Last week, the Centrist Project’s newest volunteer chapter was launched in Portland at an event hosted by local attorney and chapter leader David McConnell.
“I’m tired of Democrats and Republicans who are unwilling to cross the aisle to work with the other side,” McConnell said. “I’m ready to get behind leaders with the courage to buck the two-party system that is failing our state and our country.”