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- Former staffers for President George W. Bush are trying to start their own political party.
- They know it will be an uphill battle.
Some former staffers from President George W. Bush’s administration are trying to build up a new political party.
The group behind the effort is referring to itself as the Serve America Movement, or SAM. On Wednesday, SAM ran a full-page ad in The New York Times announcing its intentions to build a political party.
SAM’s CEO, Sarah Lenti, served under Condoleezza Rice when she was national security adviser under Bush, and she served on four presidential campaigns. Reed Galen, the group’s chief strategist, worked in the Bush administration and worked on three presidential campaigns.
However, the group knows it’s going to be a “long slog” before they gain any viability.
“Not surprising that people would be skeptical,” Galen told Business Insider. “We haven’t had a significant new party in this country since the 1850s. It’s been a long, long time.”
Galen said the group, which he said has thousands of members and has raised roughly $1.5 million, is trying to target voters whom the two major parties have deemed “less than pure” in recent years. Galen said it’s been slightly easier for his group to court disaffected Republicans than Democrats, though he refused to call its political orientation “centrist” in nature.
Some of the issues the group will focus on include gerrymandering, targeting sore loser laws, advocating for campaign finance reform and voter access, entitlement reform, and what to do about a shifting economy.
The goal is for the group to start building up at the state level and run candidates as early as this fall. Galen said late filing dates and late primaries in several states provides them with a good opportunity in some of this year’s races.
“This is not going to be done by November of this year or November of 2020, this is going to be a long slog,” he said. “Party building is not glamorous. Hopefully we’ll get a few wins under our belt this fall and get a few more in 2020. We don’t have to win them all, we just have to win a few.”