Although there are more independent voters than either Democrats or Republicans, fewer than 1% of state and federal legislators are independent.
There are just two independent U.S. Senators, one independent Governor, seven independent state senators, and 24 independent state representatives. (Source: Ballotpedia).
The Centrist Project is proud to highlight a few centrist, independent leaders who we believe well represent our movement in office.
Several incumbent independent leaders came together at the National Press Club on July 12, 2017 to describe what it is like to serve as an independent. Watch their remarks in this playlist.
Bill Walker was elected on a unity ticket with his former Democratic opponent in 2014 and serves as the only independent governor in the country. Gov. Walker has taken a pragmatic approach to government as he works to address his state's unique fiscal and environmental challenges.
Prior to assuming office as the junior senator from Maine, Sen. King served as the independent governor of Maine from 1995-2003. King describes himself as “neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but an American,” and serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Energy and National Resources, Rules and Administration, and Intelligence committees.
State Senator Patricia Farley was elected as a Republican in 2014, but decided in 2016 to serve as an independent and caucus with the Democrats. “I’m choosing to serve as an independent in the 2017 session because my constituents come before party labels, and I believe this is the best way to represent them."
Senator Johnson, a former newspaper publisher and dairy herdsman, has served in the Iowa state senate since 2002. In June 2016, Johnson made headlines by becoming one of the first elected officials to leave the Republican Party after the nomination of Donald Trump.
Learn more about Senator Johnson by watching the video below:
Representative Ackley assumed office as a Common Sense Independent in Maine’s state House in 2016. Growing up as the son of a lifelong Democratic mother and loyal Republican father, Kent learned the value of hearing both sides of an argument and aims to take that approach to his state's legislature.
Learn more about Rep. Ackley by watching the video below:
Rep. Casas is a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant and Iraq War veteran. Casas ran as an independent because he knew that “an inclusive and moderate discussion that brings the public together is the proper approach for positive change in the community and state.” He won in 2016 on four major platforms -- economic and environmental sustainability, state funding of public education, the drug epidemic, and veteran services.
Learn more about Representative Casas by watching the video below:
Jason Grenn, a fourth-generation Alaskan, was born and raised in Anchorage. After becoming frustrated with his state legislature's inaction towards the budget crisis, he filed to run for office - an hour before the deadline! Jason pulled off a spectacular upset and now works with a bi-partisan coalition to fix the budget issues he felt so passionate about.
Read more about Jason's (incredible) story here.