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An Independent Run for Governor, Across the Border

Lincoln Chafee may have some company. Massachusetts State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill plans to leave the Democratic Party, according to The Boston Globe, in what is widely seen as a precursor to an independent run for governor in the Bay State.

That could mean two credible, independent candidates for governor in New England next year, with Chafee - a former Republican U.S. Senator-turned-independent - expected to make his own run for Rhode Island's top job.

Both candidates would have the advantage of running in states with relatively moribund Republican parties. But there are some marked differences between the nascent campaigns. The two men defected from different parties, of course. Chafee would be running for an open seat, while Cahill would be taking on an incumbent, in Governor Deval Patrick. And if Chafee is seen as a frontrunner - or at least an even-odds possibility - Cahill would be a decided underdog.

Still, the two probable candidacies - however different - say something about the declining influence of the major political parties.

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