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Chafee and the Independents' Assault on Democrats

Interesting piece in Politico about the independent candidacies that have cropped up of late, or might in the near future. It seems that much of the activity is in traditionally Democratic states. And with a bit of a mid-term backlash against the president's party expected anyhow, those independent candidacies - including Lincoln Chafee's here in Rhode Island - could be most injurious to Democrats.

Independent candidates are poised to run serious campaigns for governor in at least a half-dozen states, a development that threatens Democratic fortunes in some of the bluest and most progressive-minded states in the nation.

In New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine is seeking a second term in November, polls suggest an independent candidate is carving a sizable portion of voters out of his hide.

In two other reliably Democratic states, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, well-known politicians running as independents could significantly undermine Democratic chances in 2010, if not flat-out win. Credible third-party candidates are also mulling over bids in a handful of other states that have open seat governor’s races next year — including Minnesota and Maine, both of which have a recent history of electing third-party governors.

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