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Vance out, Novoselic in: Forward Party gets Washington state switch up

caption: Krist Novoselic arrives at the Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
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Krist Novoselic arrives at the Pre-Grammy Gala on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Richard Shotwell / Invision / Associated Press

Chris Vance says he has stepped down as a Washington state lead for the Forward Party, a third-party effort with emerging branches across the United States. At the same time, the party says it has welcomed Nirvana's Krist Novoselic to its national board.

You may recall Andrew Yang as a Democratic hopeful in the 2020 presidential primary. Since then, he's started a movement to develop a third party, mostly filled with folks who don't like the sensationalism, extremes, and general "Sharks vs Jets" mentality of the two main political parties. The third option that he, and a range of other organizers, are offering is the Forward Party.

They have been setting up state level branches in recent months. Washington has one of its own. Yang was in town this month for a Forward event. A scroll through the party's recent social media posts features a range of volunteers and leaders who are signed on locally.

One name that may sound familiar to Washingtonians is Chris Vance, former King County and state lawmaker, and former chair of the state GOP. He left the Republican Party and has run unsuccessfully as an independent ever since. Vance has called for a more moderate third party over the past few years.

Vance says he was signed on as the Washington state lead for the Forward Party, but recently announced, "I am sorry to say that I just resigned from the Forward Party and am once again politically homeless."

In a tweet, Vance says that he was expecting a Forward Party convention in 2023, and a new party platform, which isn't happening. Not having a strict platform has sort of been the Forward Party's schtick since day one. Vance doesn't think it will work.

Around the time of Vance's exit, Yang welcomed Nirvana band member Krist Novoselic to the Forward Party.

“The only way you do anything is to become really active,” Novoselic said in a statement to Forward Party members.

In an email to supporters, Yang noted that Novoselic is former chair of his county's Democratic Party, and has a history of political activism in Washington. He is now joining the national board of the Forward Party.

"I've been in touch with Krist for a number of months, but our first meeting was last month in Seattle.... He joined me in speaking to the Washington Forward Party, and agreed to join our efforts after meeting the local activists and volunteers in the state," Yang wrote.

According to the Forward Party, Novoselic joined the board to "accelerate our strategic initiatives and enhance American democracy."

This blog post was originally included in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for May 25, 2023.

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