The King of the Independents

It's not entirely clear whether the attacks have taken a hold among voters. Polling in the state has been all over the map- showing King's lead as small as 8 percentage points and as wide as 26 percentage points. The polling in the state does not meet with ABC's standards for usage.

But what the attacks have not done is push King left or right - he still maintains that he will wait until after the election to decide how he'll proceed with regards to party support.

"I still have every intention of going down there, seeing what the situation is, what the numbers are, what the opportunities are, and what will make me most effective on behalf of Maine," said King, although he noted that he has taken register of the attacks aimed at him. "On the other hand, I wouldn't be human if I didn't take some cognizant of the fact that these guys have been poking me in the eye since July."

But if King had his way, he could avoid being forced to choose a party.

"I'm hoping I can remain fully Independent, still have a committee assignment, and still be effective," he said.

It's not clear if this will be possible. Committee assignments are determined by the parties, and if King does not pledge his support to either Republicans or Democrats, the conventional wisdom is he will not get optimal assignments.

The election is already underway in Maine. Early voting kicked off on October 7. In 2008 a little more than 30 percent of the total vote in the state was cast through early and absentee voting. King is certainly the favorite in the race, but it's not a sure thing. Because there are three major candidates in the race (as well as several other, lesser-known third party candidates)- a candidate needs to siphon off a little more than one third of the support to claim victory, which heightens the stakes for all the candidates.

There's an inherent structural difficulty to King's Independent affiliation - the challenge of reaching out to voters. When Republican and Democratic candidates put their get out the vote operations into place, they typically work off of voter rolls from their party. But having no party affiliation means that those same lists aren't immediately available to the King campaign.

"It's harder for an Independent to do get out the vote. We had to build our own lists and we've done it through phone-banking, identifying our voters and then following up to make sure they vote," King said.

It's a challenge that the King campaign knew they'd face, and began to tackle early.

"It's more of a challenge for an Independent but we've been aware of that from the beginning and really started some serious work on that in I'd say June," he said.

The work of identifying voters spans the whole state. "I don't take any area for granted and I don't concede any areas," he said.

Whether or not this unique approach can work in this day and age is something that ultimately, King notes, Maine voters will decide.

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