PORTLAND — About 100 area residents turned out for a meeting Saturday hosted by No Labels, an organization promoting bipartisanship across the country.

Among the crowd was former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who spoke about his campaign and his hope that No Labels can change the face of politics. Cutler ran as an independent candidate during the 2008 gubernatorial election. He lost to Gov. Paul LePage in November by about 9,000 votes.

Cutler said his campaign followed three important guidelines. The first was to select a staff with a wide range of political views.

“The second thing is, we treated voters like intelligent adults and refused to engage in negative campaigning,” Cutler said.

The final effort, he said, was engaging people from across the state and diverse backgrounds.

The methods Cutler discussed are similar to the mission of the national No Labels movement.

Since December, when the organization was founded, it has gathered support from around the country. No Labels Field Director Kevin Walling said the movement started out of frustration with extremists working for their party labels instead of the citizens they represent.

“We want to move not left, not right, but forward,” he said.

Communications officer Erin Mulhall said the organization’s goal is to have leaders representing all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts, which was part of the reason for Saturday’s meeting.

In Walling’s brief introductory presentation, he said No Labels hoped there would be someone in the room willing to step up and take on that leadership role for Maine.

The grass-roots effort is looking to work with candidates and current elected officials and promote efforts of working across party lines, Walling said. As part of that mission, the organization needs people in Maine to foster the relationships between Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

“The full weight of the movement is in support of bipartisan problem solving,” he said, not “the hyper-partisanship extremes that have taken over.”

A number of area representatives with track records of bipartisanship were also present, including Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, Rep. Les Fossell, R-Alna, Rep. Maeghan Maloney, D-Augusta, and Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough.

Mulhill said the organization is expected to return for another meeting in June.

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