What are the odds of an independent sweep in the northeast?

In the northeast, three prominent and promising independent candidates for governor continue to attract the attention of commentators who recognize the latent power of those who have declared their independence from the two-party state and the politics of the Democratic-Republican political class. In the Providence Journal, Froma Harrop reflects on the regional trend in a profile of Chafee's candidacy in Rhode Island:

They make less of a ruckus than the Tea Party people, but independents in New England are brewing their own revolution. Third-party governors may have been elected elsewhere -- Walter Hickel in Alaska (1990) and Jesse Ventura in Minnesota (1998) -- but in New England, such candidacies have become almost routine.

Independents are making credible runs for governor in Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island. The strongest contender, Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee, is a former U.S. senator and former Republican. Polls show Chafee comfortably ahead of his likely Democratic and Republican rivals.

This regional trend preceded the Tea Party phenomenon. The U.S. Senate's two independents are Connecticut's Joe Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders, both of whom caucus with Democrats. Connecticut's former governor, Lowell Weicker, had been a Republican-turned-independent. And if elected, Eliot Cutler would be Maine's third independent governor . . .

The third independent running for governor is state Treasurer Tim Cahill in Massachusetts. He and Cutler were Democrats. A recent Rasmussen poll shows Cahill with 23 percent support, putting him a reasonably close third behind incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick's 35 percent and Republican Charles Baker's 27 percent.

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