Romney ally working on ballot access for potential independent candidate
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A Mitt Romney ally has launched a group that will work to ensure that a potential independent candidate for president can make it on the ballot in all 50 states should that person emerge to challenge Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders apologizes to Biden for supporter's op-ed Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Trump' if the US doesn't elect progressive Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover up,' 'national disgrace' MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic debates are magnet for lobbyists NYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Sanders v. Warren is just for insiders MORE in the general election.

Conservative donor John Kingston will act as chairman of Better for America, which says it will have the framework in place for the late entrance of an independent candidate into the general election.

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The group claims there is still time for a viable independent candidate to emerge and meet the cumbersome ballot access requirements that are a hurdle for any third-party candidate.

Many conservatives who oppose Trump hope that Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, would enter the race as an independent, but Romney has repeatedly said he would not. At the same time, he continues to attack Trump. 

In addition to Kingston, Better for America counts Anne MacDonald, the former chief of staff for first lady Laura Bush, as an adviser.

“We have built a dedicated, experienced team with expertise in legal, political, grassroots, digital, communications, and other fields that we’ll need to get this job done,” MacDonald said in a statement. “We are full-speed ahead on getting ballot access readied for a candidate worthy of this great country.”

Pollster Joel Searby and conservative lawyers Mohammad Jazil and Matthew Sawyer are also on the team. Sawyer notably served as general council to Ross Perot’s Reform Party bid in 1996, in which he took 8 percent of the vote.

Polls show the public is deeply dissatisfied with the two presumptive major party nominees, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. 

Libertarian Party nominee Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonThe 'Green' new deal that Tom Perez needs to make The Trump strategy: Dare the Democrats to win Trump challenger: 'All bets are off' if I win New Hampshire primary MORE, the former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, will be on the ballot in all 50 states, but groups interested in an alternative to Trump and Clinton have so far shunned him.

Still, attempts by small factions of “Never Trump” conservatives to recruit an independent alternative have so far fizzled.

The last potential candidate, National Review writer David French, who was recruited by Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, announced last week he’d pass on a bid because he didn’t see a path to the White House.

Deadlines to make the ballot in Texas, South Dakota and North Carolina have already passed. Deadlines in Illinois, Indiana and New Mexico come at the end of the month and require between 15,000 and 25,000 signatures.

Better for America claims it can legally challenge those deadlines and obtain extensions.

In addition to working on ballot access, the group says it will act as “the gathering place for the tens of millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed with these two presidential candidates, and the political process that produced them.”