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Gateway co-founder bankrolls PAC for independents

Michael r. Blood, AP Political Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Gateway Inc. co-founder Ted Waitt is financing a SuperPAC to support independent candidates across the country in the 2012 elections, the committee announced Friday.

"This is about building a movement," the wealthy former computer manufacturer said in a statement released by the group, icPurple.

Waitt has pumped $300,000 in seed money into the San Diego-based committee. As of Friday, it has endorsed a handful of candidates, including Republican-turned-independent Nathan Fletcher, who is running for San Diego mayor, and former Maine Gov. Angus King, who is running as an independent to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

The committee, which is seeking other contributors, is seeking to elect candidates who "can rise above the gridlock of today's partisan politics in order to drive progress and solutions," according to its website.

The group plans to use TV ads and online media campaigns to support independents. Federal records show the committee has spent more than $70,000 to produce online videos this month, including for Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, an independent seeking the 26th Congressional District seat in Southern California.

Waitt's committee is the latest in a long line of so-called SuperPACs to form this year. Under a landmark 2010 Supreme Court decision, the groups are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to back candidates.

The fastest-growing political party in California has long been no party at all. Independents make up 21 percent of the statewide electorate, and independents outnumber Republicans in 14 of the state's 53 congressional districts, records show.

Taiwanese company Acer Inc. bought Gateway for $710 million in 2007.