Falchuk focusing on enrollment to build new party

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 8, 2014…..Former independent gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk is seeking to enroll 50,000 people in his new state party by the end of 2015, he said Monday.

Falchuk, who came in third place behind former health insurance executive Charlie Baker and Attorney General Martha Coakley, said he is aiming for the United Independent Party to field legislative candidates in 2016, and he did not rule out another run for public office.

Falchuk earned 3 percent of the votes in November, a requirement for the United Independent Party to receive recognition as a “major” political party.

“We don’t want to be a position where we’re coming and going, like the Green Party,” Falchuk said.

The Green-Rainbow Party in November regained official party status, after fielding statewide candidates for secretary of state, auditor and treasurer who cleared the 3 percent threshold.

According to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office, the two parties will have that status through the 2016 election cycle, but in order to maintain the status they will have to run a statewide candidate who receives 3 percent of the vote in the 2016 election cycle, or register in their party 1 percent of the total number of voters in Massachusetts by October 2016.

The certification of the United Independent Party allows it to enroll voters and raise money through a party apparatus, giving it a chance to more evenly compete with the Democratic and Republican parties that have long dominated elections in Massachusetts through enrollment and organizational efforts. More than half of Massachusetts voters are unenrolled and not affiliated with either of the two major parties.

“I am pretty sure we’re going to surprise a lot of people again, big-time, to the extent we can achieve these goals,” Falchuk told the News Service.

Asked if he plans another run for public office, Falchuk said, “Door’s open. We’ll see.”

On Nov. 4, Falchuk’s gubernatorial campaign picked up 71,814 votes, according to Galvin’s office. Baker received 1,044,573 votes, while Coakley earned 1,004,408 in the tightest race for governor since 1964.

Independent candidate Scott Lively received 19,378 votes and fellow independent Jeffrey McCormack received 16,295 votes. Over 28,000 voters left the ballot blank.

During the campaign, Falchuk frequently dinged Democrat Coakley and Republican Baker, and argued that voters preferred a new dynamic outside of the two major parties.

Falchuk spent about $2 million of his own money on the race and said he expects to spend more to aid the party’s set-up. “We believe in a cause,” he said. “When you believe in a cause, you support it in any way you can.”

Falchuk, who often polled in the single digits and was excluded from several gubernatorial debates, rejected the notion that his run for office was a “vanity project.” “This was not a project about me in some way,” he said.

Falchuk on Dec. 5 created a state party committee and will be able to raise $5,000 per person. In the filing with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, he listed himself as chairman and an Auburndale resident, and Emily Demikat of Boston as its treasurer.

“We’re going to have a structure that looks like what you’d expect,” Falchuk said, adding that he currently has seven staffers.

The listed address for the party’s state committee — Workbar, which rents out shared office space, on Atlantic Avenue in Boston — is temporary and they will be transitioning to a “permanent” space, Falchuk said.

“We want to remain a staple of the Massachusetts political landscape,” he added. “Voters are hungry for an alternative to the political establishment and it has to be something that is built to last.”

About 20 people reached out to him about running under the United Independent Party banner in 2016 for legislative seats, according to Falchuk. “We want to run people who can win races and who are like us, no nonsense,” he said.

Copyright 2014 State House News Service

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