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by Jason Olson (jolson [at]
San Francisco, CA …, a California organization which promotes the power of the state’s 3.6 million independent voters, launched the next stage of a campaign today to directly involve independent voters in the upcoming California gubernatorial election by introducing their agenda for political reform and challenging all candidates to endorse it.
The campaign has already resulted in political reform becoming a defining issue in the election with both Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic challenger Phil Angelides strongly advocating a political reform agenda.

Statewide polls show that independents, who currently make up 23% of registered voters, will likely be the determining factor in who wins the race for Governor this year. In the most recent polls, Governor Schwarzenegger has a slight lead with independents, with the overwhelming majority still undecided., formerly called the Committee for an Independent Voice, is not new to statewide politics. It was one of the key players in both the 2004 Open Primary Intitiative campaign (Prop 62) as well as the Redistricting Reform Initiative in 2005 (Proposition 77), and its support recently helped put Ron Dellums over the top by 155 votes in the Oakland Mayoral Race.

“Politicians in this state and across the country are beginning to realize the importance and power of independent voters,” said spokesperson Jim Mangia, the former National Secretary of the Reform Party, who is leading the effort to reach out to all gubernatorial campaigns, major and minor party alike. “Independents defy traditional political labels and come from across the political spectrum. What we share is an understanding that radical democratic reform of the political process and of government is the urgent political necessity of the day.”

Since 1990 the number of voters registered outside the two major parties has doubled, while the percentage of Democratic and Republican Party registrants has declined. In recent days both Democratic challenger Angelides and Governor Schwarzenegger have embraced various political reform issues – from redistricting reform to public financing of campaigns to a package to attack political corruption.

As part of its ongoing discussions and dialogues with the candidates has sent out a questionnaire to governor hopefuls on issues of political reform and the importance of the independent voter.

A series of meetings and dialogues with candidates and/or their representatives is already underway. recently launched a major internet outreach via its website (, and has been polling, holding conference calls and meetings with independent voters across the state--briefing them on candidate responses and the growing prominence of political reform issues.

“The thrust of the campaign is to bring independent voters into direct dialogue with the candidates around our issues, in a way in which we haven’t yet seen in American politics,” says Mangia. “Independents are tired of watching the political process abused by partisanship and special interests while serious issues go unresolved. This year, we’re organizing to flex our political muscle. And it’s a voting block that neither Schwarzenegger nor Angelides can win without!”

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Paul Burton
Tue, Aug 22, 2006 10:28PM
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