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 TrumpKinzinger, Gaetz get in back-and-forth on Twitter over Cheney vote READ: Liz Cheney's speech on the House floor Cheney in defiant floor speech: Trump on 'crusade to undermine our democracy' MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSchumer: 'The big lie is spreading like a cancer' among GOP America departs Afghanistan as China arrives Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump 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 JohnsonNew Mexico lawmakers send recreational marijuana bills to governor Judge throws out murder convictions, releases men jailed for 24 years On The Trail: Making sense of Super Poll Sunday 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.”