Centrist third party falls short on signatures in Kansas

photo by: Peter Hancock

Lawrence businessman Scott Morgan, chairman of the newly formed Party of the Center, and Sarah Lenti, of the Colorado-based Serve America Movement, announce they are forming a partnership to gather the 18,000 petition signatures necessary to certify the party on Kansas ballots.

A group of Kansans hoping to form a third party with moderate candidates didn’t collect enough signatures to get candidates on this year’s ballot but one of the organizers is vowing to continue the effort.

Scott Morgan of Lawrence, one of the primary proponents of the Party of the Center, said organizers received enough support while trying to collect the required 18,000 signatures that he believes the goal of creating a centrist party could be achieved in time to have candidates on the 2020 ballot, KCUR reported .

“We’re in it for the long game,” Morgan said.

A moderate Republican, Morgan left the party after losing a 2014 primary challenge to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a conservative who along with former Gov. Sam Brownback has promoted a conservative focus in the Kansas GOP in recent years.

Morgan said the proposed party is focused more on process and good government than ideology.

“That unserved, untapped market of people who are lost without a party is just massive,” he said.

Morgan said poor planning led to the failure to gather the enough signatures before a June 1 deadline. He noted the group’s efforts started in winter, when large outdoor gatherings that lend themselves to petition drives are scarce.

Organizers hope to get the rest of the signatures needed to formally register the party by later this summer, Morgan said, and then focus on recruiting candidates for 2020.

“We can take a good year getting together (a slate) of Senate and House candidates,” he said.


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