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Whether you live in Missouri or in Kansas, when you head to the polls you often have to decide between two parties: either Democratic or Republican. But sometimes, there's another option. Today, we explore the concept of third parties and discuss why some candidates run as independents. Also, we compare our local political scene with the rest of the country.

Guests

Jim McLean / Kansas News Service

For an increasing number of voters, choosing between red and blue feels like no choice.

Elections in Kansas this year could serve as a proving ground for a fed-up electorate made up of folks who might be disgusted enough to form a new political party.

That possibility drives Scott Morgan to travel the state in search of converts to his Party of the Center, what he calls “a safe and sane alternative to the craziness” of the Republicans and Democrats.

Distinctively, candidates of the new party wouldn’t need to agree much with each other about the issues that typically distinguish Republicans from Democrats — just hold a common desire to break from the way politics works now.

Orman for Kansas

Independent candidate for governor Greg Orman picked a running mate Wednesday with middle-of-the-road credentials who balances the ticket geographically.

Orman’s choice is state Sen. John Doll. He’s a former mayor of Garden City who lost a bid for Congress in 2006 running as a Democrat. He later changed parties and won a seat in the Kansas House as a Republican.

Doll advanced to the Senate in 2016 by narrowly defeating conservative incumbent Larry Powell in the GOP primary before swamping Democrat A. Zacheria Worf in the general election.

file photo

Four years ago, Greg Orman made an independent and notable challenge to Republican U.S. Pat Roberts’ run for re-election.

Now the wealthy businessman has his sights set on the governor’s office, contending that voter frustration with the two-party system gives him a path to victory in November.

“What is clear to me is that voters want real alternatives,” Orman said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.

His bid for the governorship holds the potential to alter the dynamics of the general election.

nrkbeta / Flickr - CC

Matthew Dowd's career is an unusual one. He was a strategist for Republican President George W. Bush's re-election campaign, and, before that, a staffer for Missouri's Democratic Congressman Dick Gephardt. Now, he is taking an Independent tack to get past partisan gridlock. Today, we speak with the ABC News analyst about his life, his career, and the political situations in Austin, Springfield and Washington.

Freelance Exchange of KC

America's 53 million freelancers are their own bosses, but face not having health insurance and job security. Up to Date looks at the pros and cons of freelance work and organizations that provide support for independent workers. 

Guests:

Looking for a great art, independent, foreign, or documentary film to see the weekend of January 27-29, 2012? Up to Date's critics share their three favorite showing on area screens.

You can click on the highlighted links for Steve Walker's reviews.

Cynthia Haines: The Iron Lady, Albert Nobbs, Hugo