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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A political party promoting third-party candidates in Kansas is joining with a Denver-based organization to place centrist politicians on November ballots in the 2018 election.

The Party of the Center, which started in Lawrence, announced Wednesday that it had signed an agreement with a Denver-based organization, Serve America Movement, to gather 18,000 signatures in Kansas by June 1 to support giving Kansans a third option in this year’s election, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported .

“We are excited that SAM has found in us a partner in Kansas to help push forward their national effort to right our political ship,” said Scott Morgan, who helped start Party of the Center. “There is a huge swath of Kansans who are politically lost and who find that neither party represents them. Kansans are tired of crazy.”

Sarah Lenti, CEO of Serve America Movement, said Kansas was the first of a handful of states the organization will work with this election year. Serve America Movement has no fundraising or spending limitations, but does report donors.

Getting traditional Republican and Democratic voters to support the Party of the Center and similar groups in other states is a first step to putting people ahead of entrenched political interests, Lenti said.

“Nearly a third of all Kansas voters are unaffiliated with either major party,” Lenti said. “We hope that SAM and POC will provide those voters with another credible option when choosing candidates for office this November.”

In addition to third-party development, Serve America Movement will work to end gerrymandering of district boundaries, improve campaign finance disclosure, ease voter registration and advocate for other electoral reforms, she said.

Morgan said Party of the Center will collect the signatures, convene a convention and endorse candidates for Kansas legislative and statewide offices. The main focus will be getting people involved in the political process.

“There is not an independent voter in Kansas who doesn’t want another choice on the ballot,” Morgan said.

He said Party of the Center will be a new type of party that won’t stifle ideas because they are endorsed by a partisan rival.

“Too many believe that being in the center means you stand for nothing,” Morgan said. “The truth is that being in the center means having strong beliefs on issues, but recognizing that other good and decent Kansans have different views.”


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,