Some Democrats believe that a strong showing by fellow Independence Partier Tim Penny will enhance Moore's status and bring him a higher percentage of the progressive vote, which would hurt Wellstone. It could also be argued that Moore will draw anti-incumbent votes away from Coleman.
5. Iowa governor
Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) Attorney Doug Gross (R) Jay Robinson (Green) Clyde Cleveland (Libertarian)
Robinson does not expect to make too much of a difference, and told us he wasn't urged by the state Democratic party to withdraw from the race until last month, when it became apparent that their incumbent, Vilsack, will face a tough challenge from Gross.
Robinson has revved up his campaign and is trying to build a statewide organization, but the locus of his strength remains in liberal Ames and in Des Moines. There is no reliable data on Iowa's Greens, but Ralph Nader got about 30,000 votes in 2000, more than enough to cover the spread between candidates Gore and Bush.
Libertarians in Iowa believe that candidate Cleveland could tip the race, but he got in too late to attract attention and hasn't made much of a splash.
Incidentally, the Iowa Greens are also running a candidate for US Senate, Tim Harthan.
6. Maine governor
Businessman and former legislator Peter Cianchette (R) Congressman John Baldacci (D) Jonathan Carter (Green Independent Party)
Of the 21 states where Greens enjoy full-time ballot status, party leaders are most excited about their prospects in Maine and New Mexico. Their candidate in Maine, Jonathan Carter, has the twin blessings of statewide popularity and a bushel of money.
The Green Independent Party was born in Maine in 1984 and has headed up several successful ballot initiative drives. Carter, an organic food farmer and environmental forester, ran for governor in 1998 and got 7 percent of the vote. Back then, he had only $25,000 to spend. This year, thanks to his status as a Clean Election candidate, he'll get at least $900,000.
Incumbent Gov. Angus King, an independent, is not eligible to run for re-election. Baldacci is viewed as the frontrunner in this race, but Carter could siphon some votes from him. In late April, state Democrats challenged Carter's right to the Clean Elections money, and the subsequent publicity alerted the Maine media to Carter's candidacy.
Still, Carter hovers at between two and six percent in the polls, despite the fact that he is perhaps as well known as either Baldacci or Cianchette. He has gained attention most recently by suggesting that the state raise taxes to cover a budget shortfall. The belief — Carter calls it a stereotype — that the Green Party is a gaggle of unelectable leftists seems to persist, even within an electorate that has elected two independent governors before.
7. Vermont governor
Lt. Gov. Doug Racine (D) State Treasurer Jim Douglas (R) Cornelius Hogan (Independent)
How could a man who has never before held public office, is not a native Vermonter, and is not running on a major-party ticket be considered a serious contender for the governorship of Vermont? Cornelius "Con" Hogan gets those questions a lot.
Back when he was 29, Hogan was deputy commissioner of corrections under one governor, then worked on prison-related issues under another, and later served as commissioner of corrections under Gov. Richard Snelling (R).