One day in September of 2003, Bill Hammons was on a training run for the New York City Marathon in the hills of Central Park, mulling over what more he could do to support the Presidential candidacy of General Wesley Clark, who had just declared for the White House (Hammons had been active in the Draft Clark grassroots movement).
Then, at the top of the park, it struck Hammons that he and others could run marathons to raise campaign contributions. The idea of “Runners for Clark” was born, RFC raised a bit of cash for Clark’s campaign, and the nascent organization had spread to 14 states before the General bowed out of the Primaries the following Spring.
Clark might’ve been done, but Hammons wasn’t, and Unity Runners was started with this website of unityparty.us to support Centrist candidates throughout the country (one thing Hammons had become increasingly dismayed with was the seeming inability of the major American political parties to appeal to Centrist voters who don’t necessarily adhere to any particular ideology, other than Common Sense).
The 2004 election was done that November, but Hammons still wasn’t done, and the Unity Party of America was born on November 4, 2004, the day after that election. Bill’s fellow Unity Runners basically said “good luck with that,” and his father Rich was party member #2.
Hammons moved to Colorado the following April to trade the skyscrapers of Manhattan for the peaks of the Colorado Rockies, and he soon decided to run for office himself, as a Unity Party candidate in 2008. He became the first of only two 3rd party candidates to successfully petition onto the General Election ballot in Colorado history (Approval Voting candidate Blake Huber followed in Bill’s footsteps in 2018 before joining the Unity Party of Colorado’s United Colorado Committee).
As a direct result of Bill’s successful petitions onto the statewide General Election ballot (he also ran for US Senate in 2014 and 2016), the Unity Party was placed on and remained on Colorado’s voter registration form as one of only six voter affiliation options (“Unity”).
Then, on June 6, 2017 (D-Day), the Unity Party of Colorado achieved full party status in the Centennial State thanks to the number of voters who had checked the “Unity” voter affiliation box. With this new status, Unity Party of Colorado candidates (including Presidential candidates), no longer have to petition onto the General Election ballot, but instead are nominated at the election year Unity Party convention. In 2018, Hammons, his Gubernatorial running mate and friend Eric Bodenstab, and other candidates went on to shatter all new-party records in that year’s General Election.
And stay tuned for more exciting developments! Hammons returned to his home state of Texas in 2019 partly to enjoy some fine year-round weather, partly due to the 12th Amendment, and partly to help expand the Unity Party in Texas, Colorado Springs veteran Rebecca Keltie declared as the first-ever female Unity Party Candidate (for Congress), Stephan “Chairman Seku” Evans became the first African-American Unity Party nominee (to represent Colorado in the US Senate), and multiple candidates across the country vied to be the first Unity Party Presidential candidate to appear on official ballots (the Hammons/Bodenstab Unity Party Presidential ticket is appearing on multiple state ballots in multiple regions of the country in 2020).