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Anti-Establishment Flop?

Aaron Blake, over at the Washington Post, has an interesting piece on the failure of many anti-establishment candidates - Democrats and Republicans challenging incumbents in primaries, third-party candidates - to raise money in what was supposed to be their year to capitalize on voter discontent.

Lincoln Chafee, independent candidate for governor in Rhode Island, is among those he cites:

Has the anti-establishment movement of 2010 already gone bust?

Despite the voters' utter distaste for parties and the political establishment, there have been only a handful of serious primary challenges to sitting Members of Congress and even fewer viable third-party candidates have emerged in the run-up to the fall election.

The reason? Money.

If money is the leading indicator (and, sorry, it probably is) of viability, few incumbents have anything to be concerned about the rest of the primary season, and even fewer candidates should worry about a third-party candidate ruining their victory party...

In total, not one third-party candidate in any competitive House race reported even $12,000 in the bank at the end of June.

Of course, the situation in statewide races is a little different. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's (I) Senate campaign is in a very strong cash position but much of that money was raised before he switched parties in April.

And, in Rhode Island, former GOP Sen. Lincoln Chafee's independent gubernatorial campaign is raising decent money although he still lags far behind Democrat Frank Caprio in cash.

It's important to note here, also, that whatever Crist and Chafee can accomplish from here on-out, a lot of it would never have happened if they didn't hold statewide office as Republicans in recent years.

Something similar could be said for the well-funded gubernatorial campaign of Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill, who until last year was a Democrat. Even Maine independent governor candidate Eliot Cutler, who is expected to self-fund his way to relevance in that race, is a longtime Democrat has worked as an adviser to big-name party figures including former President Jimmy Carter and former Sen. Ed Muskie (D-Maine).

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